UW-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium hosts 'Culturas Celestiales' series
The stars hold deep cultural connections around the globe. All month long the UW-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium is hosting Culturas Celestiales, a four-part series of events celebrating the diversity of Latin American cultures’ connection to the night sky.
Nancy Bird-Soto is a professor of Spanish at UW-Milwaukee. She’ll be hosting an event about Puerto Rico later this month.
"It's not like a hyper scientific presentation, right, that sometimes we could expect that more traditional planetarium show," she says. "It's also about highlighting cultures of different places within the context of Latinx Heritage Month."
Culturas Celestiales is hosting a series of other events focused on other Latinx countries like Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Bird-Soto reveals that the name "Culturas Celestials" is even a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese.
"We wanted something that would convey the Spanish, the Portuguese, and something that you don't need to know Spanish and Portuguese to actually relate and connect," says Bird-Soto.
Bird-Soto says for her presentation, attendees can expect to learn about Puerto Rico's new student-made satellite and the devastation of the collapse of the Arecibo Observatory. Other topics in the series include examining the relationship between the cosmos and the Latinx diaspora.
One poem turned song that Bird-Soto will speak on is "Boricua en La Luna" by Roy Brown. In the song, she explains, "To have that connection, if you have that cultural affinity, that sense of nationality that goes beyond other restrictions or political issues. And that feeling even if I were born in the moon I would still be boricua," says Bird-Soto.
For the best seat in UW-Milwaukee's planetarium, Bird-Soto suggests sitting near the back, but she says there is no bad seat.
"And actually I've been going to that planetarium since I started at UWM — I've had a very long connection with it. It's one of those places that it's amazing and for some people it's like a hidden gem," says Bird-Soto. "I would recommend that people always check the calendar and you know try an in-person event whenever it feels safe for people."