Published on April 30, 2017 by Philip Poole  
Planetarium Star Party 2017

by Olivia Williams 

Samford University’s Boyd E. Christenberry Planetarium is committed to upholding Samford’s vision, part of which states to “be innovative in teaching, learning and research.” 

To that end, the planetarium is hosting a Star Party on the university quadrangle May 5. This event is open to the public at no cost. 

Telescopes will be set up for public viewing, and planetarium mini presentations will run throughout the evening. Participants can take advantage of an oculus rift virtual reality experience, as well as enjoy a sweet treat from the Dreamcakes cupcake truck on site. 

David Weigel, planetarium director, hopes everyone will make the most of this opportunity to see the stars. “This is your chance, perhaps the last before the summer, to relax by spending time with your friends, enjoy an evening of beautiful weather and have your mind dazzled by the marvels of the universe,” Weigel said. 

The planetarium presentation schedule is as follows: 

7 p.m., Inner Solar System Worlds
8 p.m., Outer Solar System Worlds
9 p.m., Constellations
10 p.m., Alabama Spring Skies: Star Struck 

Junior physics major Christina Moraitis will be opening the evening of presentations by speaking about inner solar systems. 

“I love talking about the inner solar system because most people don’t know much about it,” said Moraitis. “I love sharing my passion of astronomy with other people. Most people want to visit outer solar system destinations such as Saturn, Jupiter or Pluto the majority of the time. However, most of them don’t know that the inner solar system planets (such as Mercury, Venus and Mars) are extremely interesting.” 

Moraitis isn’t new to the planetarium stage. “I love giving planetarium shows, and I do it often for private field trip groups during the week,” she said. “Giving public shows, however, are a lot more fun since a more diverse age group attends.” 

Weigel encourages anyone with an interest in space exploration to take advantage of this magical evening. “They say something about every star having a story; perhaps it is time to add the stars to yours,” he added. 

Olivia Williams is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Division of Marketing and Communication.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.