Stars, UA research showcase of planetarium conference

Release Date: 
Monday, September 17, 2007

For Immediate Release

Fairbanks, Alaska—Stargazers, aurora enthusiasts, and more can peruse a variety of products and information, or climb into a portable planetarium to witness a star show at the upcoming Western Alliance Conference of Planetarium Associations Sept. 19-22, 2007. More than 70 planetarium directors, staff and vendors from the western United States will visit the Interior to show off their wares at the Westmark Hotel, and to take part in a number of tours and lectures at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

In addition to events at the Westmark, the University of Alaska Museum of the North will host WAC participants to an Open House Saturday, Sept. 22 that will include access to its galleries, and the opportunity to witness a star show indoors. A portable planetarium that UAF has recently purchased to conduct community outreach will be set up for free shows from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

As part of the conference’s goals to promote science education, K-12 teachers are invited to attend all WAC events free of charge, including planetarium shows at the museum. Conference organizers hope this opportunity will allow teachers insight on the latest planetarium technology, as well as UAF’s participation in the International Polar Year, its research on the aurora, and global climate change.

“Most people think you have to go far away to visit a planetarium and witness a star show, but the technology is now available to make this an option available in Alaska,” said Conference Chair and Alaska Space Grant Program Director Neal Brown. “Small, portable planetariums are becoming widely available and they’re a great venue to showcase stars in the sky, historical scenes, or other current science topics.”

The public also is invited to take part in the Western Alliance Conference, and may attend events in the Westmark Gold Room from 9 a.m. to noon, and 2 to 5 p.m. Sept. 20-21. A star party at Creamer’s Field also is open to the public. It runs from 10 to 11 p.m. on Sept. 21, and will be led by
Martin Gutoski.


Neal Brown: (907) 479-2773,
Alaska Space Grant Program: (907) 474-6833,