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Impact of Asteroids and Comets

Written by Tim Talley

planetarium1.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Department of Physical Sciences is having a show titled, "Asteroid and Comet Impacts on the Earth" at 5:30 p.m. on March 7 in the Robert K. Wickware Planetarium. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            Russell Sampson, associate professor of physical sciences and assistant director of the Planetarium, feels that knowledge of astronomy is helpful for all people. "This star show will not only entertain our students with the wonders of the universe, but will also demonstrate how an interdisciplinary education is important in the development of a good citizen," Sampson said.  "Understanding a little astronomy is important in understanding how to protect our world and our civilization from asteroid and comet impacts.  To protect the world from such threats, it will cost money, and taxpayers will probably foot some of or the entire bill.  If it is our tax money, then we should be informed.

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            "I hope our visitors will develop a better understanding of our place in the cosmos and how we are still at the mercy of the forces of nature," continued Sampson. "Asteroids and comets have impacted our planet in the past and will in the future.  There is mounting evidence that a comet or asteroid impact 65 million years ago was responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs. There are still many more comets and asteroids in the Solar System that could cause a mass extinction in the future.  We now have the ability to detect and monitor the objects that could pose the greatest threat.  However, the technology to protect the Earth from such an impact is still undeveloped."   

         For reservations or more information contact Zosia Carlquist at (860) 465-4317 or email her at carlquistz@easternct.edu or Russell Sampson at (860) 465-0188 or email him at sampsonr@easternct.edu. Tickets are free and seating is very limited with 55 available seats. Eastern's Planetarium offers yearly public and private shows. Public star shows are intended for ages 10 and up.

 

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