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A New Year’s Eve Planet Conjunction

December 30th, 2016

On New Year’s Eve, the planet Neptune will appear 0.1 degrees north of the planet Mars. While Mars is visible to the unaided eye, you will need binoculars or a telescope to spot Neptune. The best time to observe them is as soon as the sky is completely dark, when they will appear highest in the sky. On December 31, that will happen a few minutes before 7:00 p.m. If the sky is clear, look for Mars in the southwest about 30 degrees above the horizon.



Looking southwest from Salt Lake City, Utah at 7:00 p.m. MST on December 31, 2016

Neptune will appear just above and to the left of Mars in binoculars. Use the finder chart below to help identify it. If you are using a telescope, it is important to know that many astronomical telescopes produce an image that is up-side down. If that is true for your telescope, Neptune will appear below and to the right of Mars.

7x50 Binocular view of Mars and Neptune at 7:00 p.m. MST on December 31, 2016

7×50 Binocular view of Mars and Neptune at 7:00 p.m. MST on December 31, 2016

Hands-On Holiday Toy Shop 2016

December 7th, 2016


Hands-on Holiday Toy Shop is back with a Christmas wish that not even Santa can make come true: you can try all the toys before you buy them.

That’s right. Hands-on Holiday Toy Shop is back at Clark Planetarium’s Planet Fun science store and you can try the toys before you buy them so you can make sure you’re checking off the perfect surprises for your holiday gift list.

And while you’re in store, you can enjoy 20% to 35% off select items throughout the store.*

*Not applicable to telescopes, binoculars, or accessories. Cannot be combined with other discounts (except for membership discounts, which are honored on top of store discounts at this event). Cannot be used for cash. No rainchecks, valid for in-stock items only.

Purchasers who spend $100 or more before tax* will receive a voucher for four free tickets to any one show in the Hansen Dome Theatre, including Clark Planetarium’s own holiday production, Let it Snow, featuring recognizable holiday characters, festive classics, and laser imagery and special effects.

*One set of vouchers per transaction.

When: Saturday, December 10th, 2016
Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Where: Planet Fun, inside Clark Planetarium

Parking information: Guests of Clark Planetarium and Planet Fun are able to park in the underground parking structure at The Gateway Mall for a fee. Clark Planetarium provides our guests with free parking validations for three hours of parking, which reduce the parking fee to $1.


Night Vision: Space Technology Spinoffs

November 7th, 2016

Dear reader,

If you’re viewing this, we probably share many sympathies for astronomy and space flight. I mean, if you’re reading a newsletter for an astronomy museum, I’m probably preaching to the choir to say, “Holy cow, oh-wow-oh-wow-oh-wow human beings in rocket machines can hurl themselves through the space high above the Earth ZOMG :D :D:D:D!!1!”

…We’ll just take that as a given, for now.

But in the cold, clear light of the morning, space exploration is sometimes criticized because, don’t you know, we still live in a scarcity-based economy (stupid reality…), and this stuff is expensive. As the saying goes, “No bucks, no Buck Rodgers.” (Kids, ask your parents. Parents, ask your parents…)

But wait! Didn’t we get some great technology from the space program? There’s, like, Velcro and Teflon and microwaves and stuff. And don’t forget the Tang!

Well… actually none of those came from space research. There are many things commonly assumed to originate in the space program that really didn’t.

So did we get any technological good out of the space thing? Yes, yes, yes, oh my yes!

In this week’s Night Vision, we’ll look at the real story of how the inventions and technology that send people into space have been adapted into a wide range of “spin-offs.” These technologies have affected and improved our dwellings and workplaces; our homes, kitchens, furniture, and transportation; our management of food, water, and electricity; oh, and there’s those cool pens, too!

Please join us as we look at the impact of spaceflight research on our modern economy, and see how space exploration is actually an immensely valuable and productive enterprise.

Really, we can’t afford not to!

Night Vision: Space Technology Spinoffs​ is presented by Nick Jarvis on Saturday, November 26th, in the Hansen Dome Theater at 6:45pm. Tickets available online​ or at the Clark Planetarium ticket desk. Free for members and $2 for everyone else.