UW Planetarium Highlights Holiday Season With “Star Of The Magi” In December

Chip Kobulnicky, a professor in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy, will present “Star of the Magi” Friday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. in the UW Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium. This photo is of “The Three Magi,” a Byzantine mosaic in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, a basilica church located in Ravenna, Italy. (UW Planetarium Photo)

The University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium will celebrate the holiday season with a “Star of the Magi” program in December.

“This December, we will have a host of planetarium programs to delight audiences,” says Max Gilbraith, the planetarium’s coordinator. “The can’t-miss show for this month will be Dr. Chip Kobulnicky’s live presentation of ‘Star of the Magi’ Dec. 16 at 8 p.m.”

To get tickets or receive more information about programs, email planetarium@uwyo.edu or leave a voicemail and a call-back phone number at (307) 766-6506. Tickets are $5 for the public and $3 for students, senior citizens, veterans, first responders and those under 18. Seating is free for children under 5.

Reservations or pre-purchase is not required, and walk-ins are welcome. Tickets can be purchased online with a credit card, reserved by email or voicemail, or purchased at the start of the show. Cash or check is accepted at the door. The planetarium, which seats 58, is in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis outside of designated ADA/wheelchair seating.

To pay for tickets with a credit card, go to https://www.uwyo.edu/uwplanetarium/ticket.aspx. For a group larger than six, email the planetarium for a private show at https://uwyo.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bKuqIynOn7gFK2F. Tickets for private shows are the same as the public programs.

A film and special live talk for audiences will be featured each week. All programs are approximately an hour in length. As time allows, a portion of the show also may focus on a live sky tour or supporting information related to the film’s topic.

The December schedule is:

— Friday, Dec. 2, 8 p.m.: “Frozen Worlds.” The poles of Earth may contain frozen water, but they are hardly the only place. Farther from the sun, it gets chillier with carbon dioxide, methane, oxygen and nitrogen freezing closer to Mars; the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; and the minor planet Pluto.

— Saturday, Dec. 3, 2 p.m.: “Out There! Extrasolar Worlds,” a full-dome movie. The film features the primitive science fiction of early civilizations; future space missions that will observe the universe in greater-than-ever detail; and the opportunity to travel to the surfaces and oceans of moons in the solar system.

— Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m.: “Liquid Sky: Women Who Rock,” a music-based light show. The program will feature a custom playlist of music from artists such as Cyndi Lauper, The Cranberries, Florence and the Machine, Mitski and Japanese Breakfast in 5.1 surround sound. The 4K-resolution planetarium sky will become a canvas of color, patterns and movement with cutting-edge music visualization software and live VJ talent.

— Friday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m.: “Yellowstone to Enceladus.” The program explores and compares the volcanic power of the geysers under Yellowstone National Park to ice plumes beneath the surface of a Saturn moon.

— Saturday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m.: “From Earth to the Universe,” a full-dome movie. This journey of celestial discovery explores the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes. 

— Saturday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m.: “Liquid Sky: EDM,” a music-based light show. The program will feature a custom playlist of classic and contemporary electronic hits set to the psychedelic visuals of MilkDrop in 5.1 surround sound. The 4K-resolution planetarium sky will become a canvas of color, patterns and movement with cutting-edge music visualization software and live VJ talent.

— Tuesday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m.: “Wyoming Skies.” The program provides an exploration of the stars, constellations, planets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena visible from Wyoming during the holiday season.

— Friday, Dec. 16, 8 p.m.: “Star of the Magi.” Learn about the heavens, wonder and speculate with Kobulnicky, an astronomer and a UW professor of physics and astronomy, as he presents some of the celestial possibilities that may underlie the storied “star that rose in the East” that led the magi to the birthplace of Jesus.

 — Saturday, Dec. 17, 2 p.m.: “Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope,” a full-dome movie. Learn the history of the telescope, from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass — using two small pieces of glass — to the launch of the NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy.

— Saturday, Dec. 17, 8 p.m.: “Liquid Sky: Holiday Hits,” a music-based light show. The program will feature a playlist of classic and contemporary seasonal hits set to the enchanting visuals of MilkDrop in 5.1 surround sound. The 4K-resolution planetarium sky will become a canvas of color, patterns and movement with cutting-edge music visualization software and live VJ talent.

— Tuesday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m.: “Wyoming Skies.” The program provides an exploration of the stars, constellations, planets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena visible from Wyoming for the season.

— Dec. 21-27: Closed for winter break.

— Friday, Dec. 30, 8 p.m.: “Solar System Vacation.” The program will tour the most exciting and relaxing locations around the solar system. See giant ice geysers, lava lakes and aurorae; or watch the sunset on methane lakes on the bizarre moons and planets of the sun.

— Dec. 31-Jan. 2: Closed for New Year’s break.

For more detailed descriptions of the programs, go to www.uwyo.edu/physics/planetarium/schedule.html.