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Whittenberger Planetarium to highlight summer solstice

June 2, 2017

Before the sun rises on the summer solstice—the longest day of the year—The College of Idaho’s Whittenberger Planetarium will feature the annual event during its public show June 16.

Planetarium Director Amy Truksa will host this month’s event, examining the coming solstice in context with the night sky and using the planetarium’s technology to lead visitors through visual explanations of what is really happening whenever there’s a solstice or an equinox.

“The plan during the show is to start at last June, and we will go through each of the seasons and see what happens to the position of the sun relative to our horizon, and what happens with the length of the day through each of the seasons,” Truksa said. “It’s hands-on in the sense that we’re explaining all of it with the help of our projectors to help immerse yourself in what is happening.”

In addition to explanations of the solstices and equinoxes occurring throughout the year, the show will also point out specific constellations and planets that are most visible during the month of June.

The planetarium, which hosts at least one public program each month, is gearing up for a busy summer with the approach of a full solar eclipse that will pass through Idaho on August 21. Truksa said the planetarium will hold several public shows in advance of the eclipse, including two shows in July and four shows in August.

Although a full explanation can be heard at future shows, Truksa said this month’s show will touch briefly on the upcoming eclipse. Glasses for viewing the eclipse will be available for purchase this month for $1 per pair.

“If this is the only planetarium show you can attend this summer, you’ll still be able to come away with something that can help make viewing the eclipse easier,” she said.

The cost is $3 for children ages 4-17 and $6 for adults.  Reservations and payment are due in advance and can be purchased at . The show begins at 7 p.m. Plan to arrive early as seats will be forfeited to walk-ins 10 minutes before show time.  Contact Kinga at [email protected] or at (208) 459-5211 with questions regarding reservations and directions.

The planetarium is located in Boone Science Hall near Jewett Auditorium at the corner of 20th Ave. and Fillmore St. in Caldwell.

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit