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Pretlow Planetarium Show Features Interstellar Boundary Probe

An audiovisual account of the solar system mapping done by NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) will be presented for the next six weeks at Old Dominion University's Pretlow Planetarium.

"IBEX: The Edge of Our Solar System" will be shown at 5 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday beginning March 23 and continuing through April. Seating is limited to 80 per show. Pretlow Planetarium Director Declan De Paor said if the 5 p.m. show is full, he can offer a second show beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The show is free and open to anyone.

The mission of IBEX, which was launched in October 2008, has been to map the boundary of the solar system where solar wind made of plasma emitted by the sun bumps into the dark expanse of silicate dust, hydrogen and helium known as the interstellar medium.

IBEX has been able to map the interstellar boundary that separates our inner solar system from the interstellar medium. This boundary protects Earth from harmful cosmic rays.

In addition to public shows, Pretlow Planetarium is used for teaching undergraduates, for student research, for middle school and high school visits and for private functions. The planetarium's Friends of Pretlow program invites anyone to make a contribution (rate categories range from $20 to $5,000) and in return receive a newsletter and special invitations to educational and social activities sponsored by the planetarium. For more information, send an e-mail to planetarium@odu.edu.

De Paor is a research professor of geophysics at ODU as well as the planetarium director.

This article was posted on: March 22, 2010

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