UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

September 6, 2011
Cheryl Reitan | Interim director | UMD Public Relations and Marketing | 218 726-8996 |
Howard Mooers | Professor | Geological Sciences | 218 726-7239  |

UMD Planetarium Reopens

UMD PlanetariumUMD Planetarium
The UMD Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium reopened on Friday, September 2, 2011, after an extensive renovation.  Professor of Geological Sciences, Howard Mooers, and the Swenson College of Science and Engineering faculty and staff, launched a fundraiser that covered the cost of new seats, as well as other remodeling expenses that included updating the electronics, lighting, and the controls for the projector. 
At the same time, a gift shop was added to the planetarium and is stocked with planetarium t-shirts, fleece jackets, coffee mugs, numerous educational gifts, astronomical binoculars, and astronaut ice cream.
During the month of September, planetarium staff unveil the new modern science theater with laser shows, full-dome theater presentations and free public shows Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 pm. See the planetarium website for schedule highlights.
Free events include full-dome presentations, surround sound, and digital lighting.
Through September 16, a special laser light system is showing programs for kids and adults for a small fee.  Each event will highlight a popular musical group including U2, the Beatles, and Led Zeppelin.
The planetarium is one of UMD's most popular attractions.  During the Labor Day weekend, the planetarium welcomed a record number of visitors with 894 attending. 2010 was also a record year with over 10,000 people visiting.
The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium was completed in 1967 with a generous gift from Mr. Alworth and his wife Margaret.  Don Jackson was the first planetarium director, followed by Glenn Langhorst in the late 1980s, and by Timothy Holst in 1992.   In 2005, Howard Mooers took over as director and has been working to renovate the aging facility.  The original lighting has been replaced, a new surround sound system installed, and the planetarium now has a full-dome video projection system, and new high-backed theater seats.

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