Earth

Humans have always looked up at the sky, wondering about their place in the cosmos and guessing at what’s out there.

But these guesses are often wrong.

University of Wyoming graduate student Jordan Turner hopes to dispel some myths and misconceptions about space during a presentation today at the UW Planetarium.

“My ‘Astronomy Mythbusters’ show is going cover a lot of different topics that I have found to be pretty common misconceptions about astronomy,” he said. “I will start with phenomenon that we see here on Earth, and then move out into space with misconceptions about astronauts, and then onto the moon and finally, we’ll keep moving out deeper into space while talking about the sun, other stars and beyond.”

Planetarium Coordinator Samantha Ogden said common misconceptions include everything from the phases of the moon to the reason for the seasons.

“Within astronomy, which is a very popular realm of science, there are very easy misconceptions and myths that can be understood or misunderstood by people who study astronomy or just backyard astronomers,” she said. “The purpose of this show is to address these myths and misconceptions head on and try to explain a little bit more accurately what is happening in our universe.”

The reason behind the seasons is probably the misunderstanding Ogden encounters most frequently, she said.

“It’s a common misconception that we enter into the summer season because the Earth is closer to the sun at that point in time,” Ogden said. “And while it is true that the Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle, so sometimes we are closer to the sun than others, that does not have any bearing on our seasons. The reason for the seasons is the tilt of the earth.”

Turner will discuss the reason for the seasons alongside a myriad of other common misconceptions during the event today.

The public is also invited to tour the STAR Observatory, which will be open until 10 p.m. Throughout the summer, the planetarium invites members of the public to attend shows at 7 p.m. every Tuesday, at 8 p.m. every Friday and at 11 a.m. the second and fourth Saturdays.

If the skies are clear, the observatory is open from 8-10 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of each month.

Astronomy Mythbusters starts at 8 p.m. today in the UW Planetarium. Admission is $3 for students and $4 for the public. Email planetarium@uwyo.edu for more information.

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