Laramie’s Friday night lineup of things to do once again includes gazing at the stars -- now that the newly renovated Harry C. Vaughn University of Wyoming Planetarium has reopened.

The popular weekend star and laser shows return in December. With the renovations, full-dome shows now provide immersive 3-D media experiences, and traditional star shows can be replaced with far more interactive presentations, similar to an IMAX theater.

“The planetarium is a great place to spend a Friday evening. Our digital universe shows will capture your imagination and take you to amazing places within our universe,” says Travis Laurance, the planetarium’s director. “Afterwards, sit back and mellow out as you watch lasers play across the dome while listening to excellent music.”

Tickets cost $2 for students and $3 for adults. Doors open 20 minutes before each show. The planetarium is located in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building. For more information, go to and click on “Planetarium opens December 5” on the left-side navigation bar, or email

The schedule is as follows:

-- Exoplanets and the Kepler Mission, Friday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m. Launched in 2009, the Kepler mission has provided astronomers with an unprecedented volume of potential planets outside the solar system. During this star show, the study of exoplanets sparks debate about the future of our planet, the possibility of life outside Earth and the mysteries of exactly how our planet formed.

-- So, You Wanna Build a Solar System, Friday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m. Carl Sagan once said that if we want to make an apple pie from scratch, we must first invent the universe. This star show will use newfound abilities to explore space to learn about what brought us to Sagan’s pie, Laurance says.

-- Greek Mythology, Friday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m. The program is an introduction to the tales told by the ancient Greeks that created our favorite constellations. This star show is an in-depth, interactive star walk through the night sky, the stars and the deep-space objects that the constellations encompass.

A Winter Wonderlight laser show follows at 8 p.m. Laser light shows consist of three lasers (red, blue and green) that project graphics on the dome. The lasers are synchronized with music, and pre-programmed images and graphics are displayed.

“Winter Wonderlight is a Christmas theme laser light show with classics such as ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies,’” Laurance says. “It is kid friendly.”

-- The Messier Catalogue: Galaxies, Nebulae and Clusters, Friday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m.  In the 1770s, Charles Messier catalogued the most brilliant objects in the northern sky, including nebulae, star clusters and galaxies. During this star show, these objects can be seen up close in this virtual tour of our corner of the universe.

A Daft Punk laser light show follows at 8 p.m. Daft Punk is popular electronic music, which is a perfect combination with laser lights, Laurance says. Songs include “Around the World” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”

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