Pitt State’s Kelce Planetarium in Yates Hall opened its doors once again to the public for students and community members to learn while gazing upon the stars.
This week’s presentation, titled “Touching the edge of the Universe” was held Tuesday, April 2, and began with Easton Morrill, junior majoring in mathematics and physics with an emphasis in astrophysics and head presenter, focusing on Jupiter, Saturn, their moons, and their significance in developing the heliocentric model of the universe. Following the presentation was a video that went into further detail on the importance of using and developing telescopes, building on concepts presented in previous shows.
“We try to make them progressive, almost like you’re in an astronomy class,” Morrill said. “So, we’ll start with things you can see from Earth, and telescopes, that kind of stuff. And then work our way towards the Sun, then outwards so we’ll have outside our solar system type of shows.”
For Pittsburg resident Hal Walter, the presentation was “great”, and he was equally impressed with the show’s presenter.
“I’m glad to see that the younger generation actually is generating people that are interested in math and physics,” he said.
Morrill has been working with the Kelce Planetarium for the past two years after being recruited by his advisor, former chair of the department of physics Dr. David Kuehn.
“One day I was sitting in his office and a woman, I can’t remember which professor it was, walked by talking to another student and they were talking about a job,” Morrill said. “I looked at Dr. Kuehn and I said, ‘You guys are just giving out jobs?’ And he said, ‘Yes, and I’ve got the perfect one for you! You’re going to be my assistant in the planetarium. We do shows this often at this time. Be there.’”
Since Kuehn’s resignation, Morrill has been head presenter for public shows at the planetarium under the guidance of fellow presenter Angelyn Hobson. With many shows now behind him, Morrill is grateful to have been given the opportunity.
“In high school I wanted to do musical theater and performance, so communication has always been something I feel like I excel at,” he said. “Who knows how accurate that it, but I really enjoy presenting, having this opportunity and such a great place to grow.”
Morrill hopes these presentations can help foster enthusiasm and excitement to physics and outer space in the community.
“When I was a kid I went to a planetarium and that was kind of the first time I was exposed to space,” he said. “I was so obsessed for a long time, I had stars stuck to my bedroom ceiling and all that good stuff. I just want, whether it be young people, kids, seniors, adults, I want them to come in and share the same passion and interest in astronomy that I’ve been able to have.”
Kelce Planetarium hosts these public presentations on a bi-weekly basis, with the next show “Journey to a Billion Suns” scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. on April 16. Additional information can be found on posters hanging outside the planetarium.