Published: March 28, 2017

Stars to shine at MSU’s Abrams Planetarium

Contact(s): Shannon Schmoll Abrams Planetarium office: (517) 355-4676

April will be a busy month at Michigan State University’s Abrams Planetarium.

In addition to the debuts of two new shows, the planetarium also will be an active participant in the April 7 Statewide Astronomy Night, or SWAN, which is part of the MSU Science Festival.

At 7 p.m. on April 7, Abrams will premiere its newest show, “Phantom of the Universe,” which focuses on the mysterious dark matter. Admission is free and seating is on a first-come basis.

After the show, at 8 p.m., there will be a talk by Reinhard Schwienhorst, an MSU professor of physics and astronomy who was one of the collaborators on the show. He will discuss dark matter, as well as the work he does at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator located in Europe.

Also on April 7 there will be an open house at the MSU Observatory on Forest Road just south of the main campus. The open house, from 7 p.m.-11 p.m., will feature hands-on activities that demonstrate how astronomers study light, as well as the history of the universe.

On April 8, Abrams will present a new family show, “The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather.” Based on the popular television show, it tells of the adventures of the Zula Patrol as they search the universe for their friend Gorga and, at the same time, learn about weather, both terrestrial and interplanetary.

Other upcoming Abrams events include:

  • On April 8 and April 15, the planetarium will present “Small Molecules on the Big Screen.” Part of the MSU Science Festival, the show will allow viewers to see molecular models and movies on the dome screen, learn how heat affects our bodies at the molecular level, get a view of the inside of a cell and watch a drug molecule bind to its target.
  • On April 12, also as part of the Science Festival, there will be a discussion of the science of the film “The Martian.” Covered will be the accuracy of the science, as well as current plans to get humans onto the surface of Mars. There will be visuals of the planet on the planetarium dome.
  • On April 13 Abrams hosts “Dim the Lights,” a multi-sensory show that combines contemporary French horn music with powerful light and visual displays. The 6 p.m. show is free.

Most public planetarium shows are scheduled for 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays. Family shows are at 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $4 for adults; $3.50 for students and senior citizens; and $3 for children age 12 and under.

For more information on planetarium events, please visit



Shannon Schmoll is the director of the Michigan State University Abrams Planetarium. Photo by G.L. Kohuth.

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