University of Minnesota Duluth Planetarium reopens after 2 years – Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium at the University of Minnesota Duluth reopens Friday after being closed for two years.

The immersive planetary experience will return to relatively normal operations with shows on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Wednesday’s shows will be virtual, planetarium director Jessica Rogers said.

The Friday and Saturday shows will be in person. There is a limited capacity for each show and masks are mandatory.

“It’s been two very long years of closure,” Rogers said. “At this point, I’ve spent half my time as director with the planetarium closed.”

Since the start of the pandemic, planetarium employees have streamed their shows on Facebook for free, losing revenue over the past two years.

“It’s just not quite the same as being in the dome, so I’m just happy to finally have people back,” Rogers said. “Reopening this place is a chance for people to come in, learn and explore what’s out there.”

During screenings at the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, attendees sit in a dome and watch different galactic experiences unfold around them.

Contribution / Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium

Galactic Space will host community excursions, private and public in-person broadcasts for a totally different experience than watching their broadcasts through a screen.

“Astronomy being so visual, there are some things you can read or hear in a classroom, but they make more sense once you’re immersed in the planetarium and can see everything happening around you. you,” Rogers said.

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The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium projector can simulate the starry night sky and the Milky Way galaxy from almost anywhere on the planet.

Bob King/Dossier/Duluth News Tribune

Massive upgrades were made to its system, software and computers to add higher resolution content.

Rogers said the shows can now take people close to a black hole or fly through a nebula in higher resolution, creating an even better experience than before.

“I’m so excited to bring back our featured show,” said Allie Beyer, student and universe tour guide. “There’s a part at the end of a normal planetarium show where we turn on the star ball in the planetarium, all the lights go out, and we can show what a dark sky looks like, so we highlight the constellations and things like that.”

Beyer has worked for the planetarium since September. Beyer saw her first planetarium show when she was a freshman in high school, which sparked her interest in astronomy.

The reopening of public shows will be its first.

“It’s very special to open up again as a worker,” Beyer said. “We are once again sharing our passion for science.”

Friday shows are at 7 p.m.; Saturday shows are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $3 for students, seniors, and children over 6; and $5 for adults. Children under 5 are free.

For more information, visit scse.d.umn.edu/marshall-w-alworth-planetarium.

Arline J. Mercier