If all you know about space comes from storylines on "The Big Bang Theory," you think of Pluto only as Mickey Mouse's dog and Taurus as a car your mom drives, it might be time for a few astronomy lessons.
Jack Pitkin can help. He's the man in charge of UTC's Clarence T. Jones Observatory in Brainerd, and he's set to begin a new series of planetarium shows on Sunday, Jan. 24.
In 11 sessions through April (with a three-week break in March), he'll explain some of the latest news in space, point out which constellations are overhead and generally "demystify" the Milky Way.
"Some people are really intimidated by all this," he says. "There's no reason to be."
Pitkin's programs — which explain everything from sand dunes on Mars to the big red spot on Jupiter — are suited to all ages and levels of interest. The demographics vary "all over the darned place," he says.
"Some weeks we get Cub Scouts, and some weeks mostly senior citizens. Some weeks we get both. We get parents that bring their kids and kids that drag their parents."