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Planetarium’s Fall Open House will highlight Jupiter

October  17, 2011

Augustana College’s John Deere Planetarium (820 38th St.) will be open to the public on Saturday, October 29 for its annual, free Fall Open House. The planetarium will be open from 7-8:30 p.m., with indoor and outdoor programs led by Dr. Lee Carkner, planetarium director and associate professor of physics at Augustana.

“The highlight of this year’s Fall Open House will be Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system,” said Dr. Carkner.

“Telescope views will show off the planet’s cloud bands and four large moons.” The evening’s events also will include a planetarium show that will display the wonders of the night sky on the facility’s 30-foot dome ceiling with the Spitz A3P projector. Views of the moon, planets, double stars and other astronomical objects will be presented via the 14-inch reflecting telescope in the Gamble Observatory. The Getz-Rogers Gallery, where images of celestial objects and a quarter-ton piece of the Canyon Diablo meteor are on display, and the nearby Fryxell Geology Museum will be open to the public as well.

“The Fryxell Geology Museum features one of the best collections of minerals and fossils in the Midwest,” Dr. Carkner said. The geology museum includes a wall of glowing, fluorescent rocks; casts of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull; and a complete 22-foot-long skeleton of Cryolophosaurus ellioti, a large crested carnivorous dinosaur discovered by Augustana’s Dr. William Hammer in Antarctica.

Observation areas are unheated, so guests are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather. In the event of cloudy sky conditions, telescope views may not be possible but the indoor programs will still be offered.

For more information, visit the planetarium website at

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833