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Gateway to the Stars December 2015: Solstice, Meteors, and more

November 24th, 2015

December is upon us! It’s dark, the Sun set before you even left work, your breath steams out of your nose while the frosty ground crunches under your feet, and the overnight low temperature will be about 20 °​F. So… now let’s sit outdoors under the sky in the middle of the night!

What’s that you say? You have a standing appointment with a blanket, a space heater, and a cup of hot chocolate?

Well, I’d hate to interfere with a ”hot” date, but in this month’s Gateway to the Stars show, I’m going to do my best to convince you that the December night sky has some lovely sights worth bundling up for.

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Night Vision: Mars

November 24th, 2015

Mars is there, waiting to be reached.
-Buzz Aldrin

Science and science fiction have always been centered on getting to the “great beyond,” but lately these fields have been focused on one “beyond” in particular: Mars.

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Night Vision: A Century of General Relativity

November 10th, 2015

100A century ago, Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity, which radically changed our understanding of gravity. Einstein proposed that gravity results from the curvature of a blend of space and time that is today appropriately called space-time. Space-time curvature is caused by the presence of mass or energy. One of the key ideas of general relativity is that mass tells space-time how to curve and space-time tells mass how to move.

Okay, whoa. What? What does that have to do with planets and space science?

The general theory of relativity is used to predict the motions of the planets, including a previously unexplained small motion of the orbit of the planet Mercury. It also describes the gravitational bending of light from distant stars and galaxies, the expansion of the universe, and the extreme conditions that exist near a black hole.

Who knew?

Join us for 100 Years of General Relativity to take a brief tour of the night sky and then explore some of the ideas and consequences of this towering achievement of 20th-century physics. And don’t forget to bring some questions because this exploration of the space-time curvature theory is bound to be mind-bending.

Night Vision: 100 years of Relativity is hosted on Thursday evening, November 19th and Saturday evening, November 21st, in the Hansen Dome Theatre at 6:45pm. Tickets available online or at the Clark Planetarium ticket desk. Free for members and $2 for everyone else.