Planetarium reveals future performances

New director speaks on why he accepted position

By Mary Brown
On September 23, 2016

Photo by: Josh Lopez
Dr. Kenneth Carrell and student workers will help in all aspects of the Planetarium showings.

  Dr. Kenneth Carrell, new director of the Planetarium, took over the duties of running the Planetarium from Dr. Mark Sonntag, Ph.D, who was the director for 31 years. 

“I have always been fascinated by the night sky as a child living in Mertzon,” Director Kenneth Carrell said. “I teach both astronomy classes. I needed to do something constructive at night so I took up astronomy. Some people take the stars for granted they are so amazing.”

 Students and the public will get to see the dynamic Sci-Dome HD projector and large tilted dome theater. The projector can show 500 million stars and celestial objects. The renovations for the Planetarium were funded by the U. S. Department of Defense.

 “Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West” will be one of the Planetarium shows. It tells the stories of their travels and hardships in the frontier. The audiences will see the magnificent wonder of the wild west through the eyes of Lewis and Clark who traveled with 31 people to the Pacific Coast. The program is narrated by award-winning actor Jeff Bridges.

 “Solar Superstorms” will be the other show at the Planetarium. Audiences should expect to be amazed by the raging solar tornadoes and coronal mass ejections. The eruptions are the largest in the solar system as tremendously hot plasma vents that create sun flares. The solar show will give viewers a look at the suns most inner workings. 

Shows will run every Thursday night starting Sept. 15 to Nov. 18.   All age groups can attend the shows as ASU has one of the biggest community outreach programs for the public. There is no charge for ASU students, faculty and staff. Adult general admission is $3. Children, senior citizens and active military is $2.

Carrell will do a short presentation after the “Solar Superstorms” show to let everyone know what is in the night sky at the moment.

“This is my first year working with the Planetarium,” freshman Favian Cuevas said. “I’m looking forward to helping with the shows and learning more about astronomy.”

The Planetarium is used as a multimedia classroom. Physical science, geology and astronomy are taught in it. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Security Studies uses the Planetarium for classes as well.

“Astronomy has always been a hobby of mind,” junior Brandon Santana-Nolan said. “That’s why I applied for this job at the Planetarium.” 

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