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L.E. Phillips Planetarium reopens with group shows, field trip offerings

RELEASED: Jan. 14, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — The L.E. Phillips Planetarium at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will reopen for public shows Jan. 25.

In addition, the planetarium will again offer special shows for school groups, community organizations and clubs. Teachers and group leaders may schedule groups of up to 50 people for a fee of $35. Advance reservations are required for these private showings, which take place at times other than the scheduled public shows.

"In a typical year, around 2,000 children are able to learn about the sky on a field trip to the planetarium or while attending with community groups such as the Boy Scouts," said planetarium director Dr. Lauren Likkel. "Unfortunately, a shortage of instructors at the university led to a reduction of community outreach programming during the last 18 months. We're excited to be open to groups once again."

Public show times are 7 p.m. Tuesdays and 11 a.m. Saturdays (for children's shows.) Until the end of February, the Tuesday night program will be "Wonders of Deep Space," which illustrates how stars end as nebulae or supernovas and explains how galaxies were recognized as "island universes" of stars. The Saturday morning children's shows through February will feature "Solar System Adventure," a show during which the audience will help to make sure the spacecraft returns safely to Earth.

At all planetarium shows a host points out constellations and orients the audience to the current night sky. In addition, there is usually a multimedia astronomy program. The show lasts an hour, with time for audience questions.

Show information may be found on the planetarium website. There will be no shows during the university's spring break, March 19-26, or April 9 due to a university event.

Tuesday evening shows are geared for adults and teens. Saturday shows are for children ages 4-12 and their families. The admission fee for planetarium shows is $2 per person for all ages. No advance tickets are sold. The planetarium is located in Phillips Science Hall on UW-Eau Claire's lower campus, near the front doors of the building.

Free parking is available behind Phillips Hall and in all university parking lots during evenings and Saturdays. For more information or to schedule a group showing or field trip, contact Dr. Lauen Likkel at 715-836-5034 or likkel@uwec.edu.

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RD/DW

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