Written by Jason Walko, senior marketing major from Smithon, Pa.
LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College announced the fall 2019 schedule for public planetarium shows at the Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium and Astronaut Exhibit in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion.
In addition to its regular planetarium shows, two special events are scheduled this season. Students in the College’s Astronomy first-year seminar class have constructed a scale model of the solar system along the Saint Vincent fitness trail, open from dawn to dusk from September 4–13. The model starts with the sign for the sun at the beginning of the fitness trail next to the Rogers Center and the historic marker. As you walk along the fitness trail signs for planets, major dwarf planets and stars are placed at their relative distance from the sun. You might be surprised how far you would have to walk to find the closest star to the sun on the model!
On Monday, Nov. 11, the planet Mercury will pass directly between Earth and the sun. Starting at 7:36 a.m., the silhouette of Mercury will cross the disk of the sun, creating a moving black dot against the sun’s shining photosphere. Weather-permitting, a telescope will allow observation of the transit from the Dupré Science Pavilion as Mercury crosses the center of the sun between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The next transit of Mercury will happen in Nov. 2032.
The regular season of planetarium shows begins on Saturday, Oct. 26, and continues with a show each month through December. Shows will take place on Saturday, Oct. 23; Saturday, Nov. 2; and Saturday, Dec. 7. Each Saturday show begins at 11 a.m. and lasts about an hour. The shows will feature a tour of the season’s night time sky conducted by one of the members of the College’s Department of Physics, including Dr. John Smetanka, Dr. Dan Vanden Berk and Br. Lawrence Machia, O.S.B. Planets and selected deep sky objects, including star clusters, nebula and galaxies, will be visualized and concepts in astronomy and astrophysics will be discussed, with time for questions from the audience. The shows will end with a 25-minute, theatrically-produced, full-dome immersive video.
Following the all-ages show, “The Sky Above Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” will be shown at 12:15 p.m. This short, 20-minute immersive and interactive production is most appropriate for children ages 3-10 and those of us who grew up with Mr. Rogers. The audience will explore the daytime and nighttime sky with Mr. Rogers and the animated characters from “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” For selected showings, Fred Rogers Scholars and other Saint Vincent College students will supervise science-themed arts and crafts projects after the show.
All shows are free of charge. Because of limited seating, the school asks that reservations be made either online at www.stvincent.edu/planetarium or by calling the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Science, Mathematics, and Computing at 724-805-2631. Additional public shows may be added based on demand. Private shows can also be scheduled for organizations with groups of 15 to 35 people. The school especially welcomes scout groups by appointments who wish to fulfill requirements for merit badges.
Complete Schedule of Public Shows – Fall 2019
- Sept. 4-13 – Dawn to Dusk: Scale model of the solar system on the SVC Fitness Trail
- Saturday, Oct. 25 – 11 a.m.: Halloween Sky Show – Solar Superstorms
- Saturday, Oct. 25 – 12:15 p.m.: The Sky Above Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
- Saturday, Nov. 2 – 11 a.m.: Halloween Sky Show – Phantoms of the Universe
- Saturday, Nov. 2 – 12:15 p.m.: The Sky Above Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
- Monday, Nov. 11 – 10-11 a.m.: Transit of Mercury Observation (weather permitting)
- Saturday, Dec. 7 – 11 a.m.: Winter Sky Show – Black Holes
- Saturday, Dec. 7 – 12:15 p.m.: The Sky Above Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
PHOTO: The Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion
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