Articles in Juneau Empire, unless otherwise indicated.
January 21- Juneau Empire
Planetarium presents local astronomy poetry contest
JUNEAU — In celebration of April as Global Astronomy and National Poetry month, the
Marie Drake Planetarium is sponsoring an Astronomy Poetry Contest, open to all Juneau
The poetry contest is a new project for the planetarium and organizers said they look
forward to reading entries.
“We’re sure they will be ‘out of this world,’” they said.
Each poem must be original, and each participant may enter up to three poems. Entries
must include a title, the author’s name category and grade (for youth entries). Poems must
be appropriate for a general audience of all ages and will not be returned. Judging will be
done by planetarium volunteers. Winners will receive a Marie Drake Planetarium bumper
By entering the contest, poets authorize the Marie Drake Planetarium to display, read and
publish all entries. The winning poems will be published on the Marie Drake Planetarium
website and displayed at the planetarium. The winning poems will also be read at a
planetarium show in April.
The contest will consist of the following categories: Adult and three youth categories —
grades 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Deadline for submissions is Monday, March 14. Send poems
by e-mail to: [email protected] If you do not have access to e-mail, mail
poems to Cristina Della Rosa, PO Box 20912, Juneau, AK 99802, or submit your poem at a
planetarium show. More information available at mariedrakeplanetarium.com.
Journey through space by Mary Catherine Martin
Under a 30-foot starry dome, planetarium volunteers 'alter time and bend it to our will'
My Turn: Hubble Telescope and the average person by Wall Olson
November 04, 2009 - Capital City Weekly
Southeast Skies and the IYA
Wasn't it great recently when the Juneau area skies were clear at night and you could see the stars and constellations like Orion and the Big and Little Bears, among others?
And unlike Anchorage, Fairbanks or the Barrow regions at night, we had pleasant temperatures so one could stay out and look at the stars and planets a little longer.
It was just 400 years ago that Galileo Galilei perfected the telescope so he could see the details of the Moon, the nearby planets and 4 moons of Jupiter.
So it is that the United Nations and the International Astronomical Union have proclaimed 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy in honor of Galileo's foundational work.
Recently, Juneau was host to the Alaska Math and Science Teachers convention and the keynote opening speaker was Dr. Stephen Maran, a telescope expert who wowed the audience with photos taken from the Hubble Space Telescope and other sources.
More impressive telescopes, he said, are being built for both space platforms and ground sites in Hawaii, Chile and
elsewhere. Much is expected to be discovered and confirmed as we calculate the spectrums of light we see.
Juneau recently witnessed the reactivation of the Marie Drake planetarium downtown and people are encouraged to
make a visit there each Tuesday night at 6 p.m. for a presentation. Check for details at
Astronomy includes way more than telescopes but they are one of the tools used to satisfy humanities curiosity. Before
Galileo, we had the philosophers' speculating on what the specks of light were above their heads. Now we are strongly
founded upon mathematical concepts and use experimentation to test our hypotheses.
There are many resources to explore, including http://www.nasa.gov/, where one can do a search for the International Year of Astronomy, Hubble photos and countless other links.
Even though 2009 is nearly over, for us here in the Panhandle the sky is finally dark enough to contemplate the light patterns above us, if only the clouds would move away!
Ad Astra! (Latin for "to the stars"
December 17, 2008
By Katie Spielberger - Capital City Weekly Associate Editor
On Tuesday nights, the computer lab at Harborview Elementary School undergoes a magical transformation. While the computers sleep, volunteers turn the domed ceiling into the night sky.
For years, Juneau residents have been able to see the stars even on rainy days, thanks to the Marie Drake Planetarium and the volunteers who have kept it going.
John and Dolly Kremers have been volunteering at the planetarium for the past three years, inspired by the passion of former volunteer Michael Orlove.
"Michael would always say it's like being behind the mind of the Wizard of Oz," John said, indicating the console that controls the "starball."
The starball is the centerpiece of the planetarium, a metal bulb with more than 1,400 holes which projects stars, planets, the sun and moon in the right positions to approximate the night sky as seen by the naked eye.
At the control console in the back of the room, switches and knobs have labels such as "stars," "sun," and "meteors." John expertly operates the wheels controlling the amount of yellow and blue in the "sky" to approximate a sunset, then reveals what the current sky would look like on a clear night.
A typical show will begin with a view of the night sky for that night, the Kremers said. Usually the volunteers will give a special presentation on a specific topic, such as "When galaxies collide."
During the 60's and 70's when the U.S. was engaged in the space race with the Soviets, a number of schools nationwide built planetariums and launched astronomy programs, John said. Among the lucky schools was the new Marie Drake Middle School, where the planetarium was installed in 1967 at a cost of about $70,000, with the support
of then school superintendent Bill Overstreet. The first full-time astronomy teacher, Albert Shaw, also presented public shows.
When Overstreet left his position in 1972, the planetarium fell out of disuse until 1991, when Bill Leighty and Nancy Waterman revived the starball and a group of volunteers formed to offer public programs.
Current volunteers are still eager to welcome new stargazers.
"We want to teach teachers," Dolly said, "but teachers have a lot to do besides learning the starball. We really need to get children involved who want to run the machine."
When the Kremers first started volunteering, they were impressed by the young regulars at planetarium shows, who were quick to name constellations like Leo, Taurus and Pegasus.
"I was just amazed at hearing the little voices (say) 'Oh, that's Orion!'" Dolly said.
Planetarium volunteers are always open to new ideas for themed shows or ways to use the planetarium in unique ways. There have been movie nights with films projected on the 30-foot-wide dome, Valentine's Day celebrations for starry-eyed couples - even an evening of "Yoga Under the Stars."
"Sometimes, we'll have just us show up for the show (and) sometimes the place is packed," Dolly said. Regardless, like the stars in the sky, volunteers are always there.
The first show of the season will be a Holiday Star show Dec. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Planetarium volunteers will discuss the theories about what the wise men saw in the skies Christmas night.
The starball projects the stars, sun and moon onto the planetarium's domed ceiling to create a representation of the night sky as seen by the naked eye. Planetarium volunteers make the stars shine for Juneau residents Tuesday evenings throughout the year. This season's first show is Dec. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
During each planetarium show, volunteers give everyone a free raffle ticket. The winner of the drawing gets to pick a date and a place, and with the help of the starball, everyone gets to travel to see what the sky might look like somewhere else at a different time of year. For those curious about the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, this is a quick and easy way to travel - all without leaving rainy Juneau.
Chasing the Aurora
Northern lights seekers take advantage of solar activity and clear winter nights
Touring the Solar System on Foot
Local groups invited to help with tide gauge by Michael Orelove
Actor, astronomer, church deacon, Eagle Scout graduates from JDHS - Jason Ginter
Symphony presents music, images of the cosmos
Slide show of Hubble and other photographs accompany performance of Holst's 'The Planets'
Astronomy buffs seek clear skies over Juneau
Unusually colorful meteor lights up skies over Juneau Wednesday night
A trip through the solar system
Local organizations and volunteers bring the planets to Twin Lakes
Young players stage ancient drama
Let there be (northern) lights
Meteors to put on quite a show - if skies are clear
Meteors put on a show
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