Astronomy Day Open House

Observatory and Planetarium
Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois


Saturday, May 2, 2009, 8:30-10:00 pm

Augustana College's John Deere Planetarium will be open to the public on Saturday, May 2, 2009 in honor of the 40th anniversary of its dedication. The planetarium, located at 820 38th Street, Rock Island, will be open from 8:30 pm until 10:00 pm, with indoor and outdoor programs in the planetarium, the Carl Gamble Observatory, the Fryxell Geology Museum and the building's grounds. In the event of cloudy sky conditions, the indoor planetarium programs will still be offered. There is no charge for admission.

On May 2, 1969, Augustana College dedicated the John Deere Planetarium and began its mission of bringing astronomy to the public. Over the last 40 years the planetarium has hosted prominent scientists, two Apollo astronauts and tens of thousands of students, school children and members of the general public. We continue today to pursue the planetarium's mission of bringing the magic of the night sky to our campus, our community and the central Midwest.

This year's open house will feature telescope views of Saturn and its magnificent ring system which is currently near edge-on from our perspective.  We will also view the craters and mountains of the moon. Also on display will be a quarter-ton piece of the Canyon Diablo meteorite and a planetarium show with images and information on the wonders of the night sky.

The Fryxell Geology Museum, which features one of the best collections of minerals and fossils in the Midwest, will also be open to the public.  Available for viewing are a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, the wall of glowing, fluorescent rocks and the complete 22-foot long skeleton of Cryolophosaurus, a large crested carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica.

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