The renovations were funded by a grant from the Moody Foundation.
The Moody Planetarium at the Museum of Texas Tech University is re-opening Friday (Feb. 5) after almost six months of renovations. Visitors can expect a livelier, more comfortable experience and a wider variety of shows.
The planetarium closed in August for renovations. The updates include a repaired laser, the removal of outdated equipment and an additional fire exit. The grant from the Moody Foundation, which curator of anthropology Eileen Johnson authored, also funded new shows for visitors.
“More shows means visitors can come to the planetarium throughout the year and always see something new,” said Jill Hoffman, the Helen DeVitt Jones curator of education for the museum. “The generosity of the Moody Foundation has been essential to making the planetarium an even more popular attraction in Lubbock.”
Museum administrators hope to expand science-based programming at the museum, and the planetarium plays a major part in that goal. Astronomy professors have held labs at the planetarium for years, which Hoffman said will continue, and she hopes to see the professors use the museum and planetarium to reach out to the community as well.
“The planetarium would be a great way to connect the knowledge and enthusiasm of the astronomy professors with a broader audience, so now that the space is a bit more lively I hope we can find ways for them to present talks and other ideas,” she said.
Several shows will be featured Friday:
- Cowboy Astronomer: 5:30-6 p.m., Moody Planetarium
Explore the stars from a cowboy's point of view. This full-dome planetarium show includes star tales and Native American legends combined with constellation identification, star-hopping and astronomy tidbits. It is narrated by cowboy humorist and poet Baxter Black and is appropriate for all ages.
- Extreme Planets, 6:30-7 p.m., Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium
Just more than a decade ago, there were no known planets orbiting sun-like stars outside Earth's solar system. Since 1995, however, fast-paced developments in detection techniques have revealed hundreds of extrasolar planets. Though it will be years before we have direct images of the surfaces of these worlds, this show gives us an idea of what they might look like. Better for sixth grade and up.
- iPop Laser Show, 7:30-8 p.m., Moody Planetarium
With new music from the pop charts mixed with a classic from Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, the iPop show features stars both past and present in brilliant laser light. This show is a guaranteed hit for children as it features songs from Justin Bieber and Ludacris to Katy Perry and the Black Eyed Peas. Appropriate for all ages.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. It is part of the First Friday Art Trail and will be open until 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets to planetarium shows are $5 for adults and $3 for children, teens, seniors and Texas Tech students. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before a show and must be purchased in person. Entrance to the museum is free.