Local planetarium gets ready for Mars - WNEM TV 5

Local planetarium gets ready for Mars

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

The planet Mars is making its closest approach to Earth since 2005 and the Delta College Planetarium has special plans to offer the public a chance to see it through telescopes.  On Saturday, May 28 beginning at 10:00pm (and weather permitting), the planetarium will open up its rooftop observation deck so viewers can get a close up view of the Red Planet.  Activities begin at 9:00pm in the planetarium dome theater with a free show about the event.

“Mars comes around close to the Earth every 26 months,” explains Mike Murray, Planetarium Manager, “but some of those close approaches are better than others because of our elliptical orbits.  This encounter means we might get to see a little more detail, like the polar ice cap and some dark surface markings.” 

Mars will be 47 million miles away at this encounter, which may sound like a long distance but it can get as far away as 249 million miles and so the difference in its apparent size and brightness is remarkable.  The next close approach takes place in July, 2018 when Mars will get even closer, the best in 15 years, at a distance of only 36 million miles.

A variety of telescopes will be set up by planetarium staff and members of the Sunset Astronomical Society so viewers can get a variety of looks at Mars and even other celestial objects like the planet Jupiter.  If the skies are cloudy, the public can still see the free planetarium show at 9:00pm and staff will provide some extra Q&A time in the dome theater. 

For more details, visit www.delta.edu/planet/events.  News media interested in covering the event should contact Mike Murray, Astronomer and Planetarium Manager at 989-667-2270 or mikemurray@delta.edu

The event is free and all ages are welcome.  To learn more about other shows and events at the planetarium, go to www.delta.edu/planet  or call 989-667-2260.  The Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center is located in downtown Bay City at 100 Center Avenue.

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