WSC students go out of this world in Oasis in Space

Kaitlynn Breeden, Staff Writer

Wayne State students can visit the cosmos without getting in a suit or spaceship thanks to “Oasis in Space.” “Oasis in Space” takes students on a trip through the universe, galaxy and solar system in search of liquid water – a key ingredient for life on Earth at The Fred G. Dale Planetarium on Friday, Sept. 14.

The show started out with a view of the Bob Cunningham football field. The audience learned what constellations can be viewed from the field like the Big Dipper, Pegasus, Sagittarius, and Aries. The Big Dipper is one of the most easily recognizable asterisms in the night sky, found in the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the Great Bear.

Pegasus constellation lies in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the seventh largest constellation in the sky. The constellation was named after Pegasus, the winged horse in Greek mythology. The constellation is known for the Great Square of Pegasus, a familiar asterism in the northern sky, as well as for a number of bright stars and deep sky objects.

Sagittarius is easy to find because it lies on the Milky Way and its brightest stars form an asterism known as the Teapot. Aries constellation is located in the northern hemisphere. Its name means “the ram” in Latin. The constellation is usually associated with the story of the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology.

There are five “naked eye” planets, or planets that are visible without equipment: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury. However, Mercury is small and difficult to see, so you may want to concentrate on the other four planets.

Planets are also brighter than stars. We can use this to our advantage during twilight. When the sun first goes down, but while it is still light, the first objects we see in the sky are the planets. 10 to 15 minutes after the appearance of the planets, we start to see the brightest stars in the sky and finally, as the sky darkens, we see the dimmest stars.

There is even a great deal of frozen water and water vapor scattered through our solar system. However, only our planet has liquid water. Other planets and orbiting bodies have such extreme conditions that finding “little green men” is highly unlikely; if life existed on other planets, it would probably be in the form of tiny microorganisms. Still, the presence of other life in our solar system would boost our understanding of life and give us hope that other intelligent life exists in the universe.