Western Washington University   College of Sciences and Technology   Physics/Astronomy Dept.   Bellingham, WA USA
2009       2010 Calendar       2011
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

Presentations can be arranged for groups such as; scouts, classes, dorms, clubs, office staff, birthday parties, etc.
(minimum of 20 people or payment of $60 please). We occasionally offer public "walk-in" shows, check the calendar for dates and times. The facility has very comfortable seating for 45 people plus room for about 10 more on the floor.

To schedule a presentation for a group, choose an open date and time on the calendar below, and then use this handy presentation request form or contact one of our current guides.

How Much Does it Cost?
Students $3.00 If possible please arrange to deliver a single check for your entire group. Make checks payable to Western Washington University. For programs scheduled as part of a WWU course curriculum there is no fee.
Non-Students $5.00
Following the presentation you will receive an invoice based on attendance.

Most planetarium presentations are strictly for people 8 years and older. However we do have programs designed especially for groups of younger children, such as preschool daycare field trips.


For more information about the schedule, please email.

Presentations in Cyan
Astronomy in Gray
History in Red
Information Links in Gold

Western Washington University Planetarium
JANUARY   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Mars is at opposition and at its closest approach to Earth on the 29th this month. On this night, the Red Planet will rise at sunset, transit the meridian at midnight, and set at sunrise. This month may provide your best views and chances for photos all year long. In amateur telescopes Mars varies greatly depending on its orbital relationship with Earth. When it is close like this, it is easy to see a white polar cap and dark features on the lower latitudes. More about Mars 1 2
Isaac Asimov born 1920
3
Mt Baker BSA
1:30PM
Earth at perihelion
closest to Sun
0.983 AU
4
Quadrantid
Meteor Shower

5

6 7 8 9
10 11
William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, moons of Uranus 1787.
12 13 14 15 16
17
Klara's Birthday
2:00PM
18 19 20 21
Lynden High
6:30PM
22
Open to Public
6:30PM
360.650.6146
for tickets
23
24 25 26
Wheels of Life
12:00PM
27
Apollo 1 fire, 1967
28
Blaine Home Connections
10:00AM
Space Shuttle Challenger lost, 1986
29
Mars at Opposition
30
31 The Quadrantid meteor shower is often one of the year's best, it regularly produces from 50 to 120 meteors per hour The radiant point is near the North Star. The peak is on the third but usually only lasts a few hours. The name comes from an obsolete constellation, Quadrans Muralis (an astronomical plotting instrument), found in early 19th-century star atlases between Draco, Hercules, and Bootes. It was removed, along with a few other constellations in 1922 when the International Astronomical Union adopted the modern list of 88 officially-recognized constellations. (meteors)   (constellations)



Western Washington University Planetarium
FEBRUARY   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
M51, The Whirlpool Galaxy is an excellent target this month for small telescopes. 1

2
Space Shuttle Columbia lost, 2003
3 4
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
5
Apollo 14 lands on the Moon 1971
6
Mt Baker BSA
1:30PM
7 8
9
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
10 11 12
13
14
Chinese
New Year
15
Galileo Galilei born 1564 (bio)
16

WWU 316
11:00AM
17 18

WWU P.A.S.T.
6:30PM
19
Nicolaus Copernicus
born 1473
(bio)
20
John Glenn
orbits Earth in "Friendship 7" 1962
21 22 Bham Parks
2:00PM
Open to Public
6:30PM
360.650.6146
for tickets
23
Supernova 1987A Observed (stellar evolution)
24
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
25
26
27
28

The Zodiacal light is a pyramid of very dim light that can be seen in the west after evening twilight and in the east after morning twilight. It is light scattered from the Sun by countless micro-meteoroidal particles along the plane of the solar system. Get away from the glow of city lights and study the western sky after sunset. (more)



Western Washington University Planetarium
MARCH   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Saturn is at its best this month, reaching opposition on the 22nd. 1
2
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
3 4 5 6
Woodward
12:00PM
7
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
8 9 10 11 12
Cascadia Elem
1:30PM
13
14
Daylight Savings Time begins
Albert Einstein born 1879 (bio).
15 16
Meridian High
9:00AM
17
Meridian High
9:00AM
18
Meridian High
9:00AM
19 20
Vernal Equinox 17:32 UT
(seasons)
21 22
Saturn at Opposition (Saturn)
23 24
25
Wade King
Elementary
9:30AM
26 Big Lake
Elementary
11:30PM
St Paul's
Academy
1:00PM
27
28 29

30 31 March is the month of the "Messier Marathon" when amateur astronomers attempt to see as many of the M Objects in one night as they can. Due to the position of the Sun it is theoretically possible to see all of them this month, especially around the night of the new moon when the sky is the darkest. (Messiers)



Western Washington University Planetarium
APRIL   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
The occurence of Aurora is very difficult to predict but it corresponds strongly to activity on the surface of the Sun and the particles in the solar wind that strike the upper atmosphere of the Earth (more).
Photo by RL.Dietz.

The Lyrid Meteor shower peaks on the 22nd at a rate of 20 per hour.
1
2
Bridgeway Christian
Academy
12:30PM
3
4
5 6 7 8
Big Lake
Elementary
11:00AM
9 10

Apollo 13 launched, 1970
11 12 13 14
Shuttle lands for first time (Columbia) 1981
15
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
16
Wilbur Wright born, 1867
17
18 19 20 21
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
22

Lyrid Meteor Shower
23 24
25
Hubble Space Telescope launched, 1990
26 27
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
28

29

30
Kulshan
Middle School
11:00AM
The Lyrid Meteors seem to radiate from a point near the bright star Vega. (meteors)



Western Washington University Planetarium
MAY   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks on May 5 but actually stretches from April 21 to May 12. It produces about 10 meteors per hour at the peak. Best viewing is between midnight and dawn when you are on the bow of spaceship Earth as we fly through the cosmos on our yearly trip around the Sun. (meteors) 1
2

3 4
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
5 6 7 8
9
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
10
Apollo 10 launched 1969
11
Harmony
Elementary
1:10 & 1:40PM
12 13 14
WWU Showtime
6:30PM & 8:00PM
360.650.3846
for tickets
15
WWU Showtime
12:00PM & 1:30PM
3:00PM & 4:30PM
360.650.3846
for tickets
16 17 18 19 20
Purcell
Elementary
11:30AM & 12:30PM
21 22
23 24
WWU A103
WCC A100
6:30PM
25
Sumas Elem
11:15PM
26
Skylab launched 1973
27

28 29
30

31 M20, The Trifid Nebula, is easy to find in the late spring and early summer sky, with even the smallest amateur telescopes. The view includes an open cluster of stars, some glowing pink hydrogen in a star-forming region, and some blue reflecting dust nearby. Look for it in Sagittarius.



Western Washington University Planetarium
JUNE   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Corona Borealis, which is the Northern Crown, is a semicircle of stars located between Hercules and Bootes, high overhead in the summer sky. 1
2 3 4 5
Sarafian
11:00AM
6 7
Nooksack Valley
Middle School
10:00AM
8 9
Assumption
Catholic School
11:30AM
10
Nooksack Valley
Middle School
10:00AM
11 12
13 14 15 16
17
18 19
20 21
Summer Solstice
11:28 UT
Longest day of the year
(seasons)
22

Galaxy Classroom
10:00AM
23 24
25

Whatcom Day
Academy
11:00AM
26

27 28 29 30
Meteor explodes over Tunguska Siberia, 1908 (meteors)
Look for the bright stars of the Summer Triangle high over head this month. It is the first three stars you see as it begins to get dark after sunset. The brightest is Vega, in the constellation Lyra the Harp . Next is Deneb, the tail of Cygnus the Swan. Nearest the horizon is Altair in Aquila the Eagle.



Western Washington University Planetarium
JULY   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
This July we see the planets Mars, Venus and Saturn all together in the western sky after sunset. By the end of the month the conjunction becomes a foursome, as they are joined by Mercury. 1
Galileo files report that Jupiter has moons, 1610
2 3
4 5

6     Earth at
aphelion farthest from Sun
1.016 AU
7
Kids World
Firehouse
11:00AM
8 9
Children of the
Valley
11:00AM
10
11 12 13
Golden Vikings
2:00PM
14
Golden Vikings
3:00PM
15
Grandparent's
University
1:00PM
16
Grandparent's
University
9:00AM
Apollo 11 launched, 1969
17
18 19
20
First humans on the Moon, 1969
(the moon)
21 22 23


Hercules Cluster
24
25
Galileo views Saturn with a telescope, 1610 (bio)
26
Apollo 15 launched, 1971
27 28
29 30
Western Kids Camp
10:30AM
31



Western Washington University Planetarium
AUGUST   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
1 2 3 4
5
Whatcom
Boys & Girls
11:00AM
6 7
8 9 10 11 12
Perseid Meteor Shower
13 14
Brulotte
1:00PM
15 16 17
18 19

Orville Wright born, 1871
20
Neptune at Opposition (Neptune)
21
22 23 24 25
YMCA
Whatcom
10:00AM
26 27 28
29 30 31 The Perseid Meteor Shower is a yearly favorite. It peaks on the 12th with a rate of 50 to 60 per hour. These meteors are actually debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle which takes approximately 130 years to orbit the Sun (comets).



Western Washington University Planetarium
SEPTEMBER   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
One interesting autumn star that mystified the ancients is Mira, a variable star in the constellations of Cetus. At its brightest it is as bright as the North Star. At its dimmest it is invisible to the naked eye. The whole cycle takes about 330 days. 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9
10
Viking Launch
1:00 & 2:15PM
11


12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21
Jupiter at Opposition
(Jupiter)
22
Uranus at Opposition
(Uranus)
23
Autumnal
Equinox
Neptune discovered 1846
24

25

26 27 28 29
Walla Walla High
8:00PM
30 Another interesting bright star is Capella, which sparkles with colorful intensity when seen through the dense air near the horizon. (bright stars)



Western Washington University Planetarium
OCTOBER   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
The Orionid Meteor Shower peaks on the 21st. Hourly rate often reaches 20. It's created by debris along the orbital path of Halley's Comet. (comets)

A good month to view M31, The Andromeda Galaxy, a collection of stars and gas much like our own Milky Way, 2.6 million lightyears away. (galaxies)

1 2
3 4
Sputnik, first human craft in space, launched from Russia 1957
5
6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14
Chuck Yeager breaks sound barrier, 1947
15 16
17 18 19
A.L.L.
3:00PM
BSA Troop 48
7:00PM
20 21
Orionid Meteor Shower
22
WWU Fall Family
Open House
7:00 & 8:30PM
23
WWU Fall Family
Open House
12:00, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30PM
24 25 26
Compass to Campus
10:50AM
A.L.L.
3:00PM
27 28
Open House
12:30PM
29 30
31
Vatican admits errors in trial of Galileo, 1992 (bio)
The drama playing overhead this month is about Andromeda the Princess. She is the beautiful daughter of Cassiopeia the Queen and her husband Cepheus King of Ethiopia (aka Philistia). The Queen, being very vain, boasted about her own beauty, saying she was even more beautiful than the Nereids (sea nymphs). This angered Poseiden. To cool his anger, Cassiopeia chained her daughter to a rock on the beach as a sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus. Andromeda was saved at the last minute by her hero and love interest, Perseus, who killed Cetus by showing him the severed head of Medussa and thus turning him to stone. (greek mythology)



Western Washington University Planetarium
NOVEMBER   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
How much of the Moon can an earthbound observer see in one month? Answer 1
2
WCC A100
7:00PM
First dog in space, 1957
3 4
Kulshan Middle School
10:00AM
5 6
7
Daylight Savings Time Ends
time of day
8 9
Whatcom Hills Waldorf
10:00AM
10
WCC A100
7:00PM
11
Tycho Brahe observes supernova in Cassiopeia, 1572 (Brahe)
12 13
14

Apollo 12 launched, 1969
15 16
First message sent to M13 by Arecibo radioscope, 1974
17

Leonid Meteor Shower
(meteors)
18
WCC A100
7:00PM
19 20

Edwin Hubble born, 1889 (Hubble's Law)
21

22
WCC A100 7:00PM
RESCHEDULED
23 24 25 26 27
28 29
WCC A100
7:00PM
30
The Leonid Meteor Shower peaks on the 17th. Maximum hourly rate typically reaches 10 to 15. This shower is notable for greatly enhanced activity every 33 years. The showering of gravel entering our atmosphere is caused by a river of debris left in space by the passing of comet Tempel-Tuttle. (comets)



Western Washington University Planetarium
DECEMBER   2010
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
This is a good month to view the Pleiades star cluster in Taurus the Bull, also known as M45 or the Seven Sisters. The starlore associated with the Pleiades is extensive (example). 1 2 3
Hodges
8:00PM
4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14
Geminid Meteor Shower
(meteors)
15 16 17
First sustained powered flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, 1903
18
19 20

21
Winter Solstice
The shortest day of the year
22 23 24
Apollo 8 sends message from lunar orbit, 1968
25
Isaac Newton born 1642
(Newton)
26 27
Johannes Kepler born 1571
(Kepler's Laws)
28 29 30 31

Orion takes center stage. (constellations)

2009       2011



Western Washington University Planetarium