The John R. Kirk Planetarium will unveil a new digital projector at a public showing on April 11 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be preceded by a V.I.P. reception and showing, to which the College’s cabinet, deans, chairs of the School of Science and Engineering, members of the School’s advisory committee, and members of the local community with ties to the planetarium have been invited.
The new projector, which is completely digital and runs using software called Stellarium, provides a more immersive, transformative experience and creates a more dynamic atmosphere for viewers. The digital projector will allow for more features in a planetarium show, including fly-throughs and drawn overlays, as well as a more accurate and detailed depiction of the sky. During the last academic year (2011-2012), more than 2,000 visitors attended programs at the planetarium.
In addition to creating a more updated and higher quality planetarium show, the purchase of this projector enables faculty to teach astronomy students to use equipment that they will likely be required to operate if they become employed at a planetarium after graduating from New Paltz. Students will also learn to use the projector to make a map of the sky, building on more traditional methods and on material covered in class.