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Photo of the planetarium

Planetarium

The Southwest Minnesota State University Planetarium is a theater of the universe. It can surround you with an accurate image of the sparkling night sky as well as all the complex motions and cycles that take place around us. State-of-the-art technologies create a fully immersive multi-media experience.

The three primary projection systems which include a laser phosphor digital fulldome system, an LED driven optical-mechanical star projector offering the most pristine look at the night sky, as well as a full-color laser light show system that can fill the entire dome with mesmerizing laser light. To augment this experience a powerful audio system enhances the impact the experience as you take in the wonders of the cosmos. This unique experience will interpret the universe in a way that appeals to both the mind and eye. The Planetarium will introduce you to a life-long acquaintance with the sky and the dynamic universe we are a part of.

To book a group planetarium star show and/or laser light show by contacting the planetarium director:

Ken Murphy
ken.murphy@smsu.edu

Sun and Sky Chart


2021 Sky and Space Calendar Preview

Space Calendar
Date Event
January 2 Earth at perihelion, closest point to the sun, 91.4 million miles
January 4 Latest Sunrise
January 23 Saturn at Superior Conjunction—behind the sun
January 28 Jupiter at Superior Conjunction—behind the sun
February China’s Tianwen 1 (orbiter & rover) reaches Mars
February 6 50th Anniversary of the First Golf Shot on the moon—Alan Shepard, Apollo 14
February 12 Chinese New Year—Year of the Ox
February 18 Perseverance rover Lands in Jezero Crater on Mars
February 20 NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission makes fourth Venus flyby
March 14 Spring ahead! Daylight Saving Time begins; Pi Day and Einstein’s Birthday
March 20 Spring begins at 4:37 a.m. CDT
March 26 Venus at superior conjunction—behind the sun as viewed from Earth
April 12 60th Anniversary of First Person in Space—USSR’s Yuri Gagarin; 40th Anniversary of First Space Shuttle Launch
April 26-27 Super Full Moon
May 5 60th Anniversary of First American Person in Space—Alan Shepard
May 26 Partial Super Moon Lunar Eclipse; Marshall, MN Times: 4:45 a.m. to 5:23 a.m. CDT
May 28 Venus and Mercury close in evening sky
June 10 Partial Solar Eclipse; Marshall, MN times: 5:12 a.m. to 5:41 a.m. CDT
June 14 Earliest Sunrise
June 20 Summer Solstice starts at 10:32 p.m. CDT
June 27 Latest Sunset
July 5 Earth at aphelion, the farthest point from the sun, 94.5 million miles
July 4-5 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (not visible in Minnesota, North America)
July 12 Mars and Venus—very close in evening sky
July 22 Launch of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to asteroids Didymos & Dimorphos
August 1 Saturn at opposition, visible all night
August 11-13 Perseid meteor shower peaks
August 19 Jupiter at opposition, visible all night
September 14 Neptune at opposition
September 22 Fall arrives with the autumnal equinox at 2:21 p.m. CDT
October 16 NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission makes fifth Venus flyby; Launch of NASA’s Lucy flyby mission to multiple Trojan asteroids
October 31 Launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
November Launch of NASA’s Artemis I to moon, test mission, no astronauts
November 4 Uranus at opposition
November 7 Fall back! Daylight Saving Time ends
November 19 Almost (97%) total lunar eclipse; Marshall, MN times: 1:18 a.m. to 4:47 a.m. CST
December 4 Total Solar Eclipse—Antarctica
December 7 Earliest Sunset
December 12-14 Geminid meteor shower peaks
December 21 Winter Solstice starts at 9:59 a.m. CST