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Open house for MSUM planetarium

This article was written by Lexi Robinson, a PULSE contributor.

Looking up, there is a large revolving globe. The Minnesota State University of Moorhead planetarium offers an open house which started on Nov. 6 and ends on Nov. 20. Located in Bridges Hall, this free show offers an explanation of the earth and our galaxy every Sunday at 2 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

The 45-minute presentation projected on the dome-shaped ceiling portrays the earth and its relation to the moon, sun, other planets and constellations. All 88 constellations are included on the planetarium ceiling, said the Regional Science Center Planetarium Coordinator, David Weinrich, revealing their history.

“We have hardly started to explore the galaxies that are out there,” he remarked as the audience travelled from Earth past the moon and the Hubble space telescope satellite, one of the largest and most versatile telescopes, through the stars and out of the galaxy.

The planetarium was built in 1972 and has been used for classes and public gatherings. Throughout the year, the planetarium offers “Gold Dome Movies,” movies projected on the ceiling. The newest show, Season of Light, begins Dec. 1 and ends on Dec. 20.

“You can learn more about our planet using the solar system,” Weinrich said. “Other stars help us understand our sun; the sun affects our earth.”

Weinrich became intrigued with the solar system when his older brother asked for company during an astronomy assignment. Weinrich was hooked. While attending Luther University, Weinrich worked in the planetarium “teaching people about the wonders of our universe.”

Astronomy has the power to answer questions. Observing the planets in our solar system can teach us about other planets, Weinrich said.

“Anybody can go outside and look up, and people have basic questions,” Weinrich explained. “Astronomy connects people.”

People often wonder how things in our solar system came to be, and astronomy can answer those questions.

“Enjoy the wonders of our solar system” said Weinrich.

“Planets are big and amazing” said Moriah Nelson, a sophomore education major at Concordia. “It shows how much our universe is beyond our own compression.”

Learning about the planets can help solve some of Earths problems.

“There are other things out there besides our planet. The earth seems microscopic compared to the rest of the universe. If we learn enough about it, we can help save it,” said Lillie Kendall, a high school senior who was touring the campus. “It was really cool to see the relationship between the sun and the planets. There really is more out there than we think.”

By studying the planet and the effects it has on the matter around it, there is the option to learn and explore the unknown. Studying other planets allows us to make predictions and learn about Earth. Making predictions based on the weather teaches people about the affecting variables and allows astronomers the opportunity to explore solutions.

“It’s one of those things that should be on your bucket list, to look at the stars and know what you’re looking at, and the MSUM planetarium is perfect for that,” Nelson said.

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