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SUNY Brockport planetarium’s grand opening

SUNY Brockport planetariums grand opening

On Friday, Sept. 17, SUNY Brockport held its first public planetarium show in Lennon Hall. This grand opening ended up being fully seated before the show started, with 36 students in attendance. They operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if you missed it don’t worry; they will hold more shows on the first and third Friday of each month.

One of the biggest reasons why SUNY Brockport holds these shows is for astronomy outreach. The planetarium is meant to be used as a space for students to learn about astronomy and experience it.

Aaron Weaver, the narrator of the show, began by showing the night sky, highlighting Neptune, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. The show accurately represents the night sky outside, changing over the course of the different seasons.

There were a few complications throughout the show. One being a software glitch, showing a different night sky with different constellations highlighted. However, Weaver quickly maneuvered around these issues, proceeding with the show. He continued the show by pointing out the correct constellations in the sky, such as the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Hercules and Cygnus.

The show then transitioned to talking about black holes, when a fly made a guest appearance. This fly decided to walk across the projection lens, casting a shadow on the dome itself. This guest made multiple reappearances throughout the show, entertaining the audience further. Weaver’s frustration with the fly was one of the main highlights.

One of the biggest challenges during this show was trying to keep bugs out of the room and off the projection lens. Weaver didn’t consider this as a possible issue, but has now made note of it, looking into solutions to improve it in the future.

One of the future events that Weaver mentioned to look forward to is the eclipse in April of 2024.

“One big thing that we’re going to try and do here in two years is the eclipse that will run right through Brockport. There’s a total solar eclipse in April 2024 and the path of totality runs right through Brockport. That’s our biggest outreach event on the calendar because those certainly don’t happen every day,” Weaver said.

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Cambrie Eckert, News Editor
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