By SARA GIBONEY
KEARNEY – A new astronomy major sets the University of Nebraska at Kearney apart from other campuses in Nebraska.
The program, which launched during the 2014-15 academic year, is the only undergraduate astronomy major in Nebraska.
Under the new program, students can earn a bachelor of science in astronomy or a bachelor of science in astrophysics. Four new classes will now be offered to students majoring in astronomy – astronomy methods I and II, and astrophysics I and II.
“We already have the planetarium on campus, and we have dark skies out here in central Nebraska that are ideal for research,” said Planetarium Director Lee Powell, assistant professor of physics and physical science.
The department also has the resources to teach the classes.
In addition to Powell’s expertise in astronomy, two recent hires are astronomers. Powell studies the structure of the galaxy and stars, associate professor Adam Jensen conducts research on exo planets and associate professor Mariana Lazarova studies other galaxies.
The UNK planetarium features a state-of-the-art projector, the Zeiss Skymaster ZKP4. Using fiber optic technology, each star is individually projected on the dome, creating a replica of the night’s sky. Since the functions of the projector are controlled entirely by a computer, it is possible to use the planetarium to navigate to any place or time, whether it is in the past or the future.
The UNK Department of Physics and Physical Science presents educational shows to school groups and private organizations at no charge during the fall and spring semesters at UNK.
There are area observatories that can also be used for classes, Powell added.
Source: Lee Powell, 308.865.8277, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, email@example.com
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