Quasar show 'Point of No Return' plays across the world
Released on 07/21/2005, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
"Point of No Return," the astronomy show developed by astronomy researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is being distributed to more than 85 planetariums in 42 states, Australia, Canada, Germany, Peru and South Africa.
The program, based on work by a UNL astronomy research group headed by astronomer Martin Gaskell, uses data from the Hubble Space Telescope to explore the universe of quasars and supermassive black holes, the specialties of Gaskell and his graduate students.
With Gaskell as prime investigator, UNL's Mueller Planetarium was awarded an IDEAS grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute to produce the program, which is designed to help explain these bizarre monsters of the cosmos to public audiences and school groups. It premiered at Mueller Planetarium in the University of Nebraska State Museum in March.
"We knew that people were going to be interested (in the program)," Gaskell said. "But this response has far exceeded my expectations. This broad international educational outreach is something Mueller Planetarium and the university can be really proud of." Gaskell said that when he and Jack Dunn, coordinator of Mueller Planetarium, originally proposed the project to NASA, one of their aims was to be able to explain some of the key concepts of quasars in terms that the average layman could understand.
Dunn said planetariums signed up to use the program have a combined average annual attendance of more than 1.7 million people. He said requests for program materials are still being received, so the potential audience for the program will probably go even higher.
Mueller Planetarium presents "Point of No Return" Tuesdays through Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 24; and from July 27 through Aug. 21 at 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Tickets are sold at the NU State Museum front desk in Morrill Hall the day of the show. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 and for children and university students. The ticket price includes admission to the museum. Tickets are sold at the NU State Museum front desk in Morrill Hall the day of the show. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 and for children and university students. The ticket price includes admission to the museum.
For further information telephone the planetarium at (402) 472-2641 or visit its Web site (www.spacelaser.com).