Select Wednesdays (12:15 - 12:45 pm)

AstroBreaks are free planetarium shows from 12:15-12:45 pm on select Wednesdays. All are welcome!

Each program includes a description of the night sky and some of its treasures, along with an exploration of a special astronomical topic. Past AstroBreaks can be found here.

Spring 2016

January 6 – Highlights of the UWM Planetarium
Speaker: Director, Jean Creighton
The UWM Planetarium is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Jean Creighton is excited to share her favorite moments from programs and events during the last ten years.

January 20  Galaxies in a different light
Speaker: Postdoctoral researcher, Angela Van Sistine
We have all seen beautiful galaxy pictures taken with light our eyes can see. But, what do galaxies look like in light that is not visible to our eyes?

January 27  Einstein’s Last Prediction
Speaker: Director, Jean Creighton
What were some of Einstein’s big ideas? Found out about his four important predictions and which ones have been confirmed.

February 3  Gravitational waves
Speaker: Graduate student, Alex Urban
Across the gulf of space, a spectacularly violent, industrial-strength explosion sends ripples through the very fabric of reality itself. The LIGO project is a pair of massive, miles-long, delicately sensitive laser arrays capable of listening for these ripples, and when LIGO began observations in September 2015, we opened up a brand new new sense onto the cosmos. Alex Urban will report on a 3-month stay at one of the LIGO detectors last autumn, sharing his experiences from the front line of this very exciting time in astronomy.

February 10  Winter Stars and their myths
Speaker: Director, Jean Creighton
Embrace the beauty of the winter night sky! Brush up on your mythology: learn the different common winter constellations and the myths associated with them. 

February 17  Colorful Nebula
Speaker: Director, Jean Creighton
Learn about the beautiful clouds in space known as nebulae. Nebulae are connected to star’s life and can give insight on a star’s history. Famous nebulae such as the Eagle, Horsehead and the Cat’s Eye will be featured in the program.

February 24  The Final Parsec Problem: Do Supermassive Black Holes Ever Coalesce?
Speaker: Graduate student, Joseph Simon
For supermassive black holes, a galaxy merger sets the stage for a collision course, and in the many years prior to coalescence the black holes should be detectable through gravitational radiation and other interactions with their environments. However, they remain elusive. Joseph Simon will present current research that delves into the final parsec approach of two supermassive black holes.

March 9  Stellar Women
Speaker: Postdoctoral researcher, Danielle Berg
Many women contribute to astronomy today. Here is the story of a few of them.

March 23  Paving the way to Einstein
Speaker: Graduate student, Kristina Islo
Einstein is often thought to be peerless: a physicist blessed with a mind capable of inventing beautiful theories in almost miraculous manner. Reality isn’t nearly so romantic. His work was not conceived in a vacuum, but was birthed into an already rich and exciting scientific culture. Often overshadowed are the scientists who laid forth the foundations on which Einstein stands. Learn about these physicists and mathematicians whose contributions to relativity set the stage for Einstein’s debut.

March 30  Constellations of the Zodiac
Speaker: Director, Jean Creighton
Do you know why out of 88 constellations, only 12 make up the zodiac? Do you know what the names are for the 12? Learn several of the beautiful myths that go along with the zodiac constellations. In addition, see many state-of-the-art images of cool astronomical objects in these constellations.