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Spring planetarium open house on May 10

April  02, 2014

Augustana College’s John Deere Planetarium will be open to the public on Saturday, May 10, for a free evening of stargazing and planet viewing. The planetarium will be open from 8:30-10 p.m., with indoor and outdoor programs.

planetarium open house

“This year’s open house will feature Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, Saturn and its magnificent ring system, and Mars, the fabled red planet,” said Dr. Lee Carkner, professor of physics. “Our telescopes will reveal the planets as well as the mountains and craters of the Earth’s Moon.”

Visitors will be able to view a quarter-ton piece of the Canyon Diablo meteorite and a planetarium show with images and information on the wonders of the night sky. The nearby Fryxell Geology Museum also will be open to the public.

The museum features one of the best collections of minerals and fossils in the Midwest, including a wall of glowing, fluorescent rocks, casts of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, and a 22-foot fossil skeleton of Cryolophosaurus, a large carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica by Augustana paleontologist Dr. William Hammer.

The observing areas are unheated, so dress according to the weather. In the event of cloudy weather, telescope views may not be possible, but the indoor programs will be offered.

For more information, please contact Gail Parsons at (309) 794-7318, or visit the planetarium website at