Science and astronomy aficionados now have two venues to view the night sky.
The Del and Norma Robison Planetarium and Multimedia Theater is now open for Truman State organizations and members of the Kirksville community. The observatory, another facility located at the University Farm, is a place where Truman students in astronomy clubs or classes and Kirksville citizens can look at objects in the night sky — some of which are hundreds and thousands of light years away — through a telescope.
Junior Elizabeth Miesner, planetarium committee member and honorary Stargazers Club member, says the observatory and planetarium are two different entities she and many others can use to appreciate space.
“The planetarium shows an image of Saturn up on a screen, but going out to the observatory you can go physically see Saturn,” Miesner says. “The planetarium does a good job educating people about a wide variety of topics while the observatory does a good job educating people about what’s currently up in the sky.”
The planetarium is used for understanding and analyzing outer space, displaying graphic design projects for the visual communication department, hosting poetry readings for the English department and being used as a set backdrop for theatre department productions.
Senior Will Melvin, Stargazers Club president, says the planetarium positively impacts the whole student body, not just science majors.
“[The planetarium] reaches people’s liberal arts education experience. It provides people with access to facilities that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. You can read about something in a book, but it’d be like having a biology class and never dissecting anything, or being a theatre major and reading plays but never actually participating in one, or a music major who never performs. It gives you actual hands-on experiences.”
– Will Melvin, President of Stargazers Club
For more information from Professor Vayujeet Gokhale on the planetarium check out Issuu.