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Planetarium Chosen for Regional Meeting May 7

Posted on Monday, May 2, 2011

The Westminster College Planetarium is the site for the annual Ohio Planetarians meeting Saturday, May 7.

Professional planetarians and science educators from Ohio and western Pennsylvania will discuss the educational content of planetarium shows, technology used in planetariums, and the challenges facing planetariums.

According to Dr. Thomas Oberst, assistant professor of physics and director of Westminster's planetarium, Westminster was selected in part because of recent upgrades, especially the installation of a digital full-dome projector.  A digital full-dome movie surrounds the audience on all sides giving them the feeling of being immersed in the movie.

"For every large planetarium at a science museum or in a big city, there are 10 small planetariums like ours at colleges and K-12 schools," Oberst said.  "Educators at these schools are interested in the changes we've made since they are similar in size and have similar resources."

"Because of the popularity of astronomy, planetariums have become key institutions in the push to improve science literacy in America," Oberst added.  "We all share the common goal of exciting and educating the public about science so it's important for us to work together."

Westminster's planetarium is a 45-seat full-dome theater where shows are displayed using the digital 360-degree dome projector.  Used for Westminster classes since the 1950s, the planetarium has offered public and private shows for the local community for over 20 years and hosted more than 20,000 visitors.  Approximately half of those visitors are students from local K-12 schools.

Contact Oberst at (724) 946-7204 or email for additional information.

Dr. Thomas Oberst