Earth and Space Awareness Month Events
- Thursday, April 4, 7:30 p.m., free screening of the documentary, "Saving Hubble." "Saving Hubble" documents the successful grassroots fight to save the Hubble Space Telescope program after Congress voted in 2004 to end it.
- April 11-13, 7:30 p.m., Bad Science Movie Nights: Come watch some skewed versions of science direct from Hollywood. All shows are free and begin at 7:30 p.m. in the John C. Wells Planetarium. "The Core" will be shown on the 11th, "Armageddon" will be shown on the 12th and "2012" will be shown on the 13th. Each movie will be followed by a scientific debunking session. All three movies are rated PG 13.
- April 17-20 & 22, 7:30 p.m., "The City Dark:" A free screening of "The City Dark" will be shown in the John C. Wells Planetarium. "The City Dark" chronicles the disappearance of darkness. When filmmaker Ian Cheney moves to New York City and discovers skies devoid of stars, a simple question -- What do we lose when we lose the night? -- spawns a journey to America's brightest and darkest corners. Astronomers, cancer researchers, ecologists and philosophers provide glimpses of what is lost in the glare of city lights. Additional showing at 2 p.m. April 21.
- April 20, 10 and 11 a.m., Science on a sphere: JMU is the first university to host Science on a Sphere, an animated globe that can show dynamic images of the atmosphere, land and oceans on Earth as well as the surfaces of other planets. The program will use SOS in a discussion of environmental issues, including pollution and global warming.
- April 26, 8:30-11:30 p.m., Public Star Party: Come out to the astronomy park behind the physics and chemistry building on JMU's campus east of Interstate 81 to look through our telescopes. We'll be looking at the moon, planets, nebulae and other cool features of the night sky.
- April 27, 10 a.m., Astronomy at the Farmer's Market: JMU Physics and Astronomy staff will be on hand at the Harrisonburg Farmer's Market to answer questions about the universe, assist with telescopes and provide other activities.
- Each Saturday of the month, Saturday afternoon shows at the planetarium: 2:30 p.m., "Two Small Pieces of Glass;" 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., Ice Worlds.
Click on poster for full-size pdf.
Students: Celebrate Valentines Day with a free movie at the planetarium
The University Program Board and the John C. Wells Planetarium at JMU are pleased to announce that "Crazy Stupid Love" is this year's special Valentine's Day movie at the Planetarium! The movie will be shown at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14 and Friday, Feb. 15.
What happens after the Hubble Telescope? Find out on Jan. 24
The Hubble Space Telescope has been in operation for more than 20 years. What comes next? The James Webb Space Telescope! Come hear Dr. Jason Kalirai, the deputy project scientist for the JWST, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24 in the Wilson Hall Auditorium speak about the enormous contributions that Hubble has made to our understanding of our cosmos, and how JWST will add to it! The program is free and open to the public.
Free parking is available at the Warsaw Parking Deck off of South Main Street. Click here for a map. Green stars on the map show the parking deck and Wilson Hall.
Guest Speaker: Dr. Phil Plait, the"Bad Astronomer"
7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 in the Wilson Hall Auditorium.
You’ve heard the rumors, the conspiracy theories, the internet scuttlebutt: the Mayans predicted the end of the world will occur on December 21, 2012. Books have been written, documentaries aired, even a major motion picture was made based on this idea. But is it real? In a word: nope. Astronomer and author Phil Plait will take you through the claims made by the doomsday-mongers and show why there’s nothing to fear. No mega solar flares, no galactic alignment, no giant asteroid impact… and, in fact, the Mayans didn’t even really predict the end of the world at all! Dr. Plait will use firm science and lots of humor to describe just why December 2012 will be pretty much like every other December on the calendar.
Dr. Plait began a career in public outreach and education with the Bad Astronomy website and blog, debunking bad science and popular misconceptions. The book, "Bad Astronomy," was released in 2002, followed in 2008 by "Death From The Skies!" Dr. Plait’s television show, "Phil Plait’s Bad Universe," premiered on the Discovery Channel in September 2010. The title of his presentation at JMU is "2012: We're All (Not) Gonna Die!" which focuses on the Mayan apocalypse myth.
Planetarium director Shanil Virani explains the fallacies behind various doomsday prophecies for 2012.
Public Star Gaze
The JMU Department of Physics and Astronomy holds regular free events for the public to view the night sky from the Astronomy Park. The Astronomy Park is located in the meadow behind the Physics and Chemistry Building on JMU's campus east of Interstate 81. More details.
Taking Astronomy to the Market
The last Saturday of each month, weather permitting, at the Harrisonburg Farmer's Market. JMU Physics and Astronomy staff will be on hand to answer questions about the universe, assist with telescopes and provide other activities.
Public Science Talk
Dr. Jennifer Mangan of JMU will discuss ways scientists are able to determine climates of the past at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20 at the John C. Wells Planetarium.
Special Event: Saturday evening screenings of the acclaimed documentary, The City Dark
Beginning Saturday, March 3, the John C. Wells Planetarium will show The City Dark, a documentary exploring the effects of light pollution and the disappearing night sky. Click here for more details.
This event is in addition to our regular Saturday afternoon shows and is not related to those programs, which run through May.
Public Science Talk
Dr. Matt Chamberlin of JMU will discuss the approaching end to the current great cycle in the "long count" calendar at 7 p.m. Friday, March 23 at the John C. Wells Planetarium.
Public Science Talk
Dr. David Leisawitz of NASA will discuss space exploration at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the John C. Wells Planetarium.
Mystery of the Christmas Star: 7 p.m. Friday's and Saturdays, Nov. 18-Dec. 17, 2011. Additional shows added on Dec. 22 and 23. Produced by Evans & Sutherland Digital Theater, Mystery of the Christmas Star allows audiences to journey back 2000 years to Bethlehem in pursuit of a scientific explanation of the star the wise men followed to find the baby Jesus. This modern retelling of the Christmas story is sure to charm and captivate audiences of all ages.