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Planetarium open house on Oct. 20

October  15, 2012

Augustana’s John Deere Planetarium (820 38th St.) will host an evening of stargazing, educational programs and planet viewing at its annual fall open house on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 7-8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The first quarter moon and the red planet Mars will be visible for viewing. The evening’s events also will include a planetarium show, in which the wonders of the night sky will be presented on the facility’s 30-foot dome with the Spitz A3P projector. Views of astronomical objects will be provided 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,” said Dr. Lee Carkner of physics and astronomy. 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 contact Dr. Lee Carkner at (309) 794-7327 or visit the planetarium website at

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833