Today: Jun 17, 2024

Planetarium adds new projectors, opportunities

Bradon Cortés – Contributor

In a celestial fusion of education, the Physics Department opened the doors of the planetarium to the southern community to show off the new digital planetarium projector. 

Elliot Horch, chairperson of the Physics Department, in collaboration with the Earth Sciences Department, inaugurated the showcase for the new Digital Starlight planetarium projector in Morrill Hall Room 104. 

“We are replacing the old pinhole projector that has been here since 1950 with the new one; with this new projector we can do so much more than ever before,” Horch said. “We are one of the few planetariums that have both the old projector and the new one so it’s like being able to see the past and the future in the same room.” 

Horch says that since it is the week of minors and majors, it is the perfect time to open the planetarium doors so that any student passionate about astronomy can look at the cosmos through the new digital projector’s lenses. 

Fiona Powers, graduate assistant of the Physics Department, explains that this opening is not just exclusive to show off the new projector. 

“Any student or faculty member can –with our permission– talk to us if they want to come into the planetarium and have a good time while looking at the cosmos,” Powers said. 

Horch says that one of the main goals of this event is to bring students across interdisciplinary lines to nourish curiosity and build an interest in astronomy or even astrophysics.  

Horch also says that the Physics Department has many opportunities including a wide variety of laboratories in the science building for students who are highly interested to pursue a minor either in physics or astronomy or even for those who want another alternative to their major. 

“We have laboratories where we research photons, laboratories that specialize in instrumental astronomy – which specializes in building cameras for giant telescopes – and we have the remote observation room where we stay up all night controlling a telescope located in Arizona and collect data, we are also home to the Connecticut Nanotechnology Center,” Horch said. 

Attendees like Mike Sanger, a graduate assistant in Gender and Women’s Studies, loved the planetarium show and loved how remodeled the planetarium looks inside. 

“I’m a big nerd when it comes to this, I’ve heard and watched that video presentation more than 100 times already on PBS. Astronomy is amazing and I just love the beauty of it,” said Sanger. “Although the planetarium is small and I haven’t been to this planetarium in years, it is good that the southern community has this within reach and that for the scale it is, it’s perfect for the university. 

Nevertheless, Horch says doors are open to anyone who pursues an interest in science and wants to delve into the world of the unknown and the infinite journey of physics. 

“There are endless opportunities; If one of the following words: astronomy, physics, quantum mechanics or astrophysics catches your attention then our department has plenty to offer,” Horch said. 

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