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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 display 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 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 of 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


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Sun and Sky Chart


2022 Sky and Space Calendar Preview

Space Calendar
Date Event
January 4 Earth at perihelion, closest point to the sun, 91.4 million miles
January 7 Latest Sunrise
January 8 Venus at inferior conjunction between sun and Earth, moving to morning sky
January 16 Pluto at solar conjunction behind sun
February 1 Chinese New Year—Year of the Tiger; second new moon after Winter Solstice
February 4 Saturn at solar conjunction behind sun, moving to morning sky
February 20 60th anniversary of first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn on Friendship 7
February 23 35th anniversary of Supernova 1987A
February 25 Parker Solar Probe: Perihelion #11
March Launch of NASA's CAPSTONE lunar halo orbiter
March 2 Mercury and Saturn close in morning sky
March 5 Jupiter at solar conjunction behind sun, moving to morning sky
March 12-15 Venus and Mars close in morning sky
March 13 Spring Ahead! Daylight Savings Time begins
March 14 Pi Day and Einstein's Birthday
March 20 Spring begins at 10:32 a.m. CDT
March 28-29 Venus and Saturn close in morning sky
April 1 25th anniversary of Comet Hale-Bopp (No comet since then has been brighter!)
April 5 Mars and Saturn close in morning sky
April 30 Venus and Jupiter close in morning sky
April 30 Partial Solar Eclipse—Chile and Argentina
May 15-16 Total Lunar Eclipse! (Marshall: Partial starts 9:27 p.m., total 10:29-11:53pm, partial ends 12:55 a.m. CDT, May 16)
May 26 Venus and Moon very close in morning sky
May 28-29 Mars and Jupiter close in morning sky
June 1 Parker Solar Probe: Perihelion #12
June 14 Earliest sunrise
June 14 Super Strawberry Moon
June 21 Summer Solstice starts at 4:13 a.m. CDT
June 22 Mars and moon very close in morning sky
June 27 Latest sunset
July  Launch of Russian Luna 25—a lunar lander
July 4 25th anniversary of Mars Pathfinder, first rover on red planet
July 4 Earth at aphelion, the farthest point from the sun
July 13 Biggest full (super) moon of 2022
August Launch of Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO)
August 1 Launch of NASA's Psyche and Janus asteroid missions
August 11-13 Perseids meteor shower peaks
August 13 Saturn at opposition, opposite the sun, up all night
September 6 Parker Solar Probe: Perihelion #13
September 16 Neptune at opposition
September 20 Launch of ESA's ExoMars 2022 Rover
September 22 Fall arrives with the autumnal equinox at 8:03 p.m. CDT
Septmeber 26 Jupiter at opposition, opposite the Sun, up all night
October 22 Venus at superior conjunction behind sun
October 25 Partial Solar Eclipse—Europe, Asia, NE Africa
November 6 Fall Back! Daylight Savings Time ends
November 8 Total Lunar Eclipse! (Marshall: Partial starts 3:19 a.m., total 4:16-5:41 a.m., partial ends at moon-set, 6:44 a.m. CST)
November 8  Uranus at opposition
December Launch of NASA's Prime 1 & Peregrine 1 lunar lander
December Launch of China's Chang'e 5, Lunar Sample Return Mission
December Launch of JAXA's (Japan) Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM)
December 7 Earliest sunset
December 7 Mars at opposition, opposite the sun, up all night
December 11 Parker Solar Probe: Perihelion #14
December 12-14 Geminid meteor shower peaks
December 14 50th anniversary of Apollo 17—astronaut Eugene Cernan's last footprint on the Moon
December 14 60th anniversary of NASA's Mariner 2 visiting Venus
December 21 Winter Solstice starts at 3:47 p.m. CST
December 29 Mercury and Venus close in evening sky, but extremely low in SW