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Community fundraiser on June 24 is set to boost support for Sac State’s Planetarium

Physics Professor Kyle Watters. the Sac State Planetarium's director, will provide answers, perspective, and engaging insight about the cosmos during a June 24 fundraiser. (Sacramento State file/Andrea Price)

Do aliens exist? Is the universe expanding?

Astronomy fans have questions, and Sacramento State’s Planetarium director has answers.

Kyle Watters, a Sac State Physics professor who typically fields questions about outer space after Planetarium shows, has picked the best of those queries to feature at a public presentation this month.

On Saturday, June 24, in the University Union, Watters will preside over a community event that he promises will be fun and informative, while raising money to fund future shows under the Planetarium’s dome. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the University Union Ballroom.

The evening will feature Watters, who has earned a reputation as an enthusiastic and engaging host, answering the most interesting of the thousands of questions that Planetarium visitors have asked him during the past four years.

His discussion will cover “the weird, the wild, the new, the old and the very old, the unexpected, the unfortunate, and the awe-inspiring,” he said. Graphics and other visuals will help illustrate the presentation.

The session will be in the Union to accommodate a larger number of guests, Watters said. Tickets are $10, and proceeds will help pay for licenses and development of new Planetarium shows.

Since the Planetarium’s opening in 2019, Sac State has held the ticket price for public shows to $5 in an effort to further the University’s mission of being accessible to all, Watters said. The Planetarium has hosted about 250 shows, and all have sold out.

The Planetarium has obtained some materials for its shows without cost, including images from NASA’s James Webb telescope, but others are expensive, Watters said. A license to exhibit some shows can cost from about $10,000 to $20,000, he said.

In addition to its public presentations, the Planetarium also has welcomed thousands of school children to dynamic shows exploring the wonders of the universe.

The first-ever fundraiser is part of an effort by the University to keep ticket prices low while continuing to present fresh material, said Watters.

To purchase a ticket to the special event, visit the Hornet ticket office.

Tickets also may be purchased for June Planetarium shows, including “The Sun, Our Living Star,” and Kids Day shows designed for elementary school-age guests. Youngsters age 12 and under receive free admission to all shows.

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About Cynthia Hubert

Cynthia Hubert came to Sacramento State in November 2018 after an award-winning career writing for the Sacramento Bee. Cynthia believes everyone has a good story. She lives in East Sacramento with her two cats, who enjoy bird-watching from their perch next to the living-room window.

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