Planetarium’s Fall Open House will highlight Jupiter

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Augustana College’s John Deere Planetarium (820 38th St.) will be open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 29 for its annual, free Fall Open House. The planetarium will be open from 7 - 8:30 p.m., with indoor and outdoor programs led by Dr. Lee Carkner, planetarium director and associate professor of physics at Augustana.

“The highlight of this year’s Fall Open House will be Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system,” said Dr. Carkner. “Telescope views will show off the planet’s cloud bands and four large moons.”  

The evening’s events also will include a planetarium show that will display the wonders of the night sky on the facility’s 30-foot dome ceiling with the Spitz A3P projector. Views of the moon, planets, double stars and other astronomical objects will be presented via the 14-inch reflecting telescope in the Gamble Observatory. The Getz-Rogers Gallery, where images of celestial objects and a quarter-ton piece of the Canyon Diablo meteor are on display, and the nearby Fryxell Geology Museum will be open to the public as well.

“The Fryxell Geology Museum features one of the best collections of minerals and fossils in the Midwest,” Dr. Carkner said. The geology museum includes a wall of glowing, fluorescent rocks; casts of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull; and a complete 22-foot-long skeleton of Cryolophosaurus ellioti, a large crested carnivorous dinosaur discovered by Augustana’s Dr. William Hammer in Antarctica.

Observation areas are unheated, so guests are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather. In the event of cloudy sky conditions, telescope views may not be possible but the indoor programs will still be offered.

For more information, please contact Keri Rursch, director of public relations, at" or (309) 794-7721. Or visit the planetarium website at"

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 70 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 287 faculty members and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.