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The next best thing to being there

Hudnall Planetarium is located at the heart of the TJC campus, directly south of the Pirtle Technology Building. Students get free admission with a valid student ID card, too.

Hudnall Planetarium recently celebrated Planets Weekend in February. The celebration also fea¬¨tured programs at UT Tyler’s Cowan Center with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, and at the Discovery Science Place in downtown Tyler. TJC’s contribution to Planets Weekend came in the form of a program entitled “Mars: Fourth Planet.”

“The shows this weekend were quite successful. Over 100 people attended, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves,” said Tom Hooten, the director of Hudnall Planetarium for over five years.

The programs ran for over an hour each, and featured information and discussions concerning Mars and its influences on our science and culture. Other topics discussed included potential habitation of Mars in the future and the possibility of Martian life.

“It was actually really entertaining. The information was presented very nicely, and I really liked the visuals. It was like going to an IMAX… in Tyler,” says Fourth Planet attendee and TJC student Carie Roland.

Other shows include “Cowboy Astronauts,” a program centered on many different myths and legends of the stars, and “Hubble: Images of the Infinite,” which takes the guest on a tour of the universe through images gleaned from the multibillion dollar Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble show will run April 12-13.

Hudnall Planetarium was originally built in 1963, and still uses the same projector that was initially in¬stalled. According to its website, the planetarium was built to act as a channel for education and science appreciation.

“On a normal basis, our main guests are elementary groups. For some of them, this will be their first and only exposure to astronomy,” said Hooten. “I hope that we have a positive and lasting impression on them.”

For more information about the planetarium, visit its website at planetarium.tjc.edu.

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