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Night at the … Planetarium?


One week after offering free admission to hordes of bargain-hunting Valley residents, the Arizona Science Center is opening its Dorrance Planetarium from midnight Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday for free planetarium shows navigated by the audience.

The free Astronomy Day 2009 celebration is part of a weekend of special shows, giveaways, and astronomy experiences.

Here are the planned highlights:

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday: Regular schedule of shows in the planetarium (standard show fees apply)

12:30 p.m. Saturday: Guest speaker in the Dorrance Planetarium (free with general admission) Dr. Patrick A. Young, Arizona State University, will be discussing “Planets, People and Other Products of Stellar Evolution.”

2 p.m. Saturday: Guest speaker in My Digital World Gallery (free with general admission) David Williams, Arizona State University, will be discussing “Water, Ice or Methane Everywhere — Latest results from NASA’s Planetary Missions.”

5 and 6 p.m. Saturday: U2: Digital Dome Experience (encore performances — standard show fees apply).

7 p.m. to midnight: Sky viewing in downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square with solar scopes until the sun sets and telescopes afterwards.

Midnight to 10 a.m. Sunday: FREE Special Experience Shows in the Dorrance Planetarium. These shows will run at the top of every hour and will be navigated by YOU, the audience. Tell us what you want to see and we’ll show you. Want to know more about our state-of-the-art technology? We’ll give you a behind-the-scenes tour! Just want to see some amazing astronomy images….we’ve got you covered there too (Concessions will be available for purchase).

Also worth noting: Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, there will be a variety of hands-on activities, live demonstrations, take-aways and giveaways … including a Grand Prize giveaway at 3 p.m. where one lucky winner will be announced and walk away with a Celestron Telescope, AstroMaster 70 AZ, valued at over $150! Other prizes include: year-long subscription to Astronomy Magazine; general admission passes to the Center; prize pack goodie bags and more! Guests can enter to win at the planetarium up until 2:45pm and must be present at the time of drawing to win.

Finally, the visiting exhibit Star Trek: The Exhibition ends its run at the Arizona Science Center on Sunday. (Admission is extra.)

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