Zacheis Planetarium Presents Movie Nights

Rachel Heaton
The Paw Print

Have you ever wanted to feel like you were flying through space, stars zooming by your head? Do you want to travel to some of the most mysterious places in space and learn about the secrets of our universe? Have you ever wanted to better understand the world we live in? Here’s your opportunity!

For the remainder of the semester, Zacheis Planetarium at Adams State University will be showing free planetarium movies each Friday afternoon. The planetarium recently underwent a renovation project, which was completed in August of 2012, and now has 45 seats and a new digital projector.

Movies shown in the planetarium are full dome. “It’s a full-dome screen, meaning an entire hemisphere over your head. Things can be going on all around you, so you really feel immersed in the story.” said Dr. Robert Astalos. Astalos is an Associate Professor of Physics at Adams State. He is also the director of Zacheis Planetarium.

Currently, the planetarium has eight movies in their library. The majority of these movies relate to astronomy. However, the planetarium library also has a few movies related to other fields of science—currently, “Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth’s Climate Engine”, which deals with Earth science, and “Natural Selection” which illustrates biology concepts.

“Besides the fact that they’re really cool, the movies are also educational. Viewers can learn about black holes, dark matter, evolution, the climate, earthquakes, and more,” Astalos said.

The planetarium is working on purchasing new movies for their library. “We are currently receiving bids for a package of four new movies,” Astalos said. The grant that allowed the planetarium renovation, he said, also provided money to purchase new movies. He expects that the planetarium’s library could have up to 35 different shows by 2015.

A couple of the movies the planetarium plans on purchasing will help to expand the subject matter of the movie library. They are looking into “Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet”, “Life – A Cosmic Story”, and “Fractal Zooms”. “Fractal Zooms” will explain what fractals are and explore where they are found in nature and even in our own bodies.

The movies are scheduled to show at two different times, 3:45 and 4:30. Movies are free to the public but anyone wishing to see the movie must have a ticket and children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the planetarium starting at 3:30 on Fridays.

Most movies last around 25 minutes, but some are longer and some are shorter. After most of the movies, Astalos will do a five to ten minute star tour where he shows viewers some of the stars and constellations they will see in the sky that night.

This Friday, Feb 8, the planetarium will be showing “Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth’s Climate Engine.” This movie explores the systems that shape our climate and seeks to help viewers understand the Earth’s climate. On Feb 15, they will show “Tales of the Maya Skies”. “Dark” will be shown on Feb 22. On Mar 1 the movie will be “Two Small Pieces of Glass”. Mar 8’s movie will be “IBEX” (Interstellar Boundary Explorer). After spring break, the planetarium will change its existing schedule to accommodate the new movies they are acquiring.

Anyone interested in being on the planetarium email list in order to receive updates about activities and astronomy can sign up at the planetarium or email Astalos at is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet