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Planetarium shows films

BYU-Idaho students can come learn of God’s majesty and power through the movies shown at the planetarium.

Every Thursday night, tickets are sold at 6:30 p.m., according to the planetarium Web page. Tickets are $2. The tickets are sold at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis, and the planetarium only has 40 seats.

“We study science to understand the universe, but we study religion to understand our place in the universe,” said Stephen McNeil, the planetarium director.

He said the program is entertaining and enlightening for students to find where they belong in this life.

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Brian Tonks, a faculty member in the physics department, said that when the Greeks would look up at the sky, they wanted it to be a familiar place, so they created the constellations and the stories behind them. He said this generation does not need the sky to be a familiar place because they do not spend as much time looking at the stars as the Greeks did.

“If you look in Pearl of Great Price or Doctrine and Covenants, really, it talks a lot about astronomy,” McNeil said. “It talks about the creation. And so when you’re looking at the stars and the galaxies and the heavens, in that sense what you are looking at is the workmanship of our Father’s hands.”

He said if someone has a religious background, looking at the stars that way makes them appreciate who they are and that they are a part of a bigger picture, not just alone.

McNeil said BYU-I students had the opportunity to make planetarium movies before it was remodeled in 2008. Now the department does not have the resources to make those movies.

Tonks said he made a movie before the remodeling that he said was inspired work called, I Will Show Thee the Workmanship of My Hands.” 

Tonks said it was a very personal and a meaningful experience to him. When he sat down and put together the show, it took 40 minutes. He said other planetariums used this program.

Tonks said people can take two stances when they look at the stars. He said they can see the physical laws and randomness that worked to create this world; the other stance is someone seeing God’s work in the stars and witness his majesty and power.

“I hope the students will come and that they will see God moving and feel and witness that God is there,” Tonks said.

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