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UA Flandrau Planetarium gets audiences' feet wet on World Oceans Day

University of Arizona's Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium held a hands-on, educational event and screening of Dynamic Earth on the 2018 World Oceans Day, which was June 8. Video by Victor Garcia Music Credit:

Abundant water on Earth makes our planet pretty special in our solar system (and perhaps the galaxy), which is what the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium taught audiences on World Oceans Day, June 8, with their pre-produced show "Dynamic Earth."

“Pretty amazing show, it shows you in a global perspective how different systems and cycles regulate our atmosphere and climate, and of course oceans play a huge role in that,” Flandrau Associate Director of Communications Shipherd Reed said. 

According to Reed, Flandrau is committed to educating the public on how science actively contributes to human development. 

“We have what’s called the ‘Marine Discovery Lab,'” said Reed. “During the regular school year we have a program for elementary school kids where UA undergraduate students get trained to do hands-on activities that train kids about marine science and marine biology.”

Aside from a rich variety of gems and minerals, a small variety of marine life is observable on Flandrau’s first floor to show the community the wonders of the ocean and bring attention to the human-caused threats it faces. 

On World Oceans Day, UA Fusion staff member Heather Meador was on hand to help educate those coming to see the show. She explained how simple things like six-pack rings and plastic bags end up in the ocean and harm wildlife all the way up the food chain.

“Shrimp in the ocean, due to human waste like plastic, end up eating small shards of plastic, then the shrimp is eaten by a bigger fish and then a bigger fish,” Meador said. “In salmon, for example, they found what was PCB [printed circuit board chemicals] in the salmon and it eventually ends up on our dinner plate.” 

Flandrau also features multimedia planetarium programs in its dark, dome-shaped EOS Foundation Theater, established to exhibit collections in optics, astronomy and space science, Reed said.

“There are images everywhere you look; it’s a very immersive format and we have that projection system," Reed said. "So different companies produce in that format and the show we have that relates to oceans is 'Dynamic Earth.'"

Flandrau's facilities offer a wide variety of exhibits for science and entertainment aficionados, from jaw-dropping gems to "Stranger Things" laser shows. 

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