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Planetarium Movie Event at Illinois State University

Written by on October 7, 2022

Photo provided courtesy of Illinois State University

NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State University Planetarium hosted the “Undiscovered Worlds” event this Friday. 

This event was focused around the discovery of exoplanets; which are planets that orbit stars other than the Sun. 

Planetarium Director Thomas Willmitch anticipates viewers will learn a plethora of new things about the universe from this presentation.

The program explores the topic of planets orbiting around other stars,” said Willmitch. “We are currently discovering a lot of exoplanets, and life is most likely on exoplanets.  We are particularly looking for planets with goldilocks/habitable zones where life can survive.” 

A goldilocks zone is a distance from a given star where the temperature causes water to stay in its liquid form. 

“In addition to all the other tools and technology we have, we are still combing through all the data we have already collected,” said Willmitch. “The recently-launched James Webb Telescope is searching for exoplanets and we are trying to understand and measure the possibility of atmospheres on exoplanets.  We are also trying to get a better handle on the possibility of life outside of Earth.” 

When asked about the importance of astronomy Willmitch said, “It is one of the fundamental questions that people ask, to discover other intelligent life.  It is an attempt to reach beyond ourselves and understand our place in the universe.” 

Undiscovered World will also be held the weekends of October 14th and 21st.  Showtimes are Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. as well as 7:30 p.m.  The planetarium will also be hosting shows throughout the day on Saturday October 8th 8th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday the 9th from 12-4 p.m. as part of sugar creek art festival every hour for free.