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New planetarium stars in Baton Rouge, La.

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Stargazers are in heaven thanks to the recent opening of the Louisiana Art and Science Museum's Irene W. Pennington Planetarium in Baton Rouge.

The $16 million planetarium is considered one of the most sophisticated multimedia presentation facilities in the country, starring the ExxonMobil Space Theater, a giant 60-foot dome theater bedecked in the light of 15,000 stars. The 143-seat ExxonMobil Theater also features a 70mm film projection system offering larger-than-life films capable of convincing you that you're really aboard a Space Shuttle lift-off or navigating outer space.

The planetarium also offers 5,000 square feet of out-of-this-world exhibits, where you can weigh yourself on the moon, meet Galileo and even touch a fallen star - a meteorite a billion years older than any earth rock.

Irene W. Pennington Planetarium

Visitors will also enjoy the plantarium's other hands-on exhibits, including nine giant planets built to scale, a 40-foot-wide solar system clock, and the Minolta MediaGlobe, which projects digital images from the Hubble Telescope or the sky at night onto a 15-foot dome and prepares visitors for what they will experience inside the theater.

The planetarium is open 10 AM - 4 PM Tuesday - Friday; from 10 AM - 8 PM on Saturday; and from 1 PM - 5 PM on Sunday. Shows are presented on the hour. While at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM), you can also explore its array of exhibits that include fine art, space science exhibits, sculpture, an Egyptian tomb exhibit and more. Admission to the galleries and one show is $6 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 12 and for senior citizens age 65 and older.

The planetarium is located at 100 S. River Road in downtown Baton Rouge. Limited parking is available on the street outside the planetarium.

For additional information about the planetarium, call (225) 344-5272, or visit online at www.lasm.org.

Provided originally by AOAS member Dr. Chuck Larson

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