North Texas Daily

Looking into the universe

Looking into the universe

Courtesy UNT

Looking into the universe
November 18
16:42 2015

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighnic0le

The UNT Astronomy department wants to give people a better understanding and appreciation for the universe by doing presentations and activities for the community.

Whether they’re inviting people to look through a telescope or view a black hole recreation far above their heads, the department wants people to take a deeper look into space.

“Some people don’t really care about the universe,” planetarium manager Randall Peters said. “The thing is, however, we wouldn’t be here without it. We want to open peoples’ eyes.”

This Saturday, Nov. 14, the staff even hosted an event to help people figure out what telescopes would best fit their needs. The department offered a variety of telescope options and answered questions, offering assistance to facilitate a better understanding of the devices.

“It is very important that we give students and the community the opportunity to get excited about the universe and what is out there,” DiIulio said.

The Astronomy department also hosts Star Parties at the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center on the first Saturday of each month. Star Parties provides a firsthand space experience, allowing those in attendance to utilize telescopes and gain a better understanding of the world around them.

“The Rafes Observatory is quite a sight,” psychology freshman Liz Garcia-Taunton said. “Secluded from the city, it really gives great perspective of the sky. You learn by experience, and in my opinion, that is the optimum way of learning.”

The staff also encourages the community to step out of their everyday lives each Saturday with the “Exploding Universe” presentation in the Sky Theatre Planetarium.

“Exploding Universe” takes viewers through a journey of supernovas and black holes to show elements of space they may not usually witness.

Peters said the presentation is a way for people to immerse themselves in astronomy. Since the presentation takes place inside, viewers can feel what a trip to space would be like.

“UNT’s Sky Theatre is one of the best-kept secrets in the Metroplex,” Peters said. “The planetarium provides a personal, engulfing experience.”

In the presentation, the night sky is projected around viewers in a 360-degree experience. Astronomy program director and planetarium director Ron DiIulio said without the planetarium, “Exploding Universe” wouldn’t be possible.

“’Exploding Universe’ is a story,” DiIulio said. “The visual aspect of it is a lot like that of an IMAX movie. There are pictures all around and so many moving parts. You are literally watching the solar system develop right before your eyes.”

Whether it becomes necessary to add more events or advertise existing ones in more ways, Peters said he thinks everyone should take steps to understand the universe around them.

“Each and every one of us is a part of the universe,” Peters said. “We want to take people through space and all the different, unique aspects of it. People need to realize there is so much more to this life than just what is here on Earth.”

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