Williamsville planetarium to host night sky preview, climate video

Apr 4, 2017

Tuesday evening, the planetarium inside Williamsville North High School will play host to a preview of what to find in the night sky in April. This month's edition of Planetarium SkyTours will also feature a show about the planet's climate.

The SkyTour program at the Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium, presented as part of Williamsville Community Education, will include a showing of the video "Dynamic Earth." The video spotlights Earth's "climate engine." Tim Collins, Community Education Instructor at the planetarium, says part of understanding the cosmos is understanding our own planet.

Credit courtesy Williamsville Central School District

"It discusses various aspects of Earth's weather systems and quite a bit of how Earth works inside its oceans, and some origins of life," Collins said. 

The planetarium will also provide visitors with a tease of some treats coming this month. Later this week, for example, Jupiter will be in opposition to the Sun from the Earth, giving viewers here a chance to see it appear more brightly in the night sky, for most of the night hours. With the aid of binoculars or a telescope, one should be able to view the giant planet's Galilean moons as well. 

Collins notes that Jupiter is the fourth-brightest object in the sky, behind the Sun, Moon and planet Venus.

"And there's a couple of other things. You have the Lyrid meteor shower coming up," he said. "You also have a chance to view Saturn if you're up before sunrise."

The Lyrid meteor shower will appear on the weekend of April 22 and 23, and may be viewed in the early morning hours, appearing to come from the constellation Lyra. Its brightest star, Vega, is part of the "summer triangle" which will begin to appear in the east over the next few weeks. 

Saturn, Collins told WBFO, will be visible in the south-southeast before dawn.

Tuesday night's presentation at Williamsville North High School begins at seven o'clock. Admission is ten dollars per person. Pre-registration is required.