Williamsville North planetarium is out of this world

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) —From the outside it looks like just another wing of Williamsville North High School, but on the inside a whole other universe is waiting for you. Originally built in 1969, the planetarium recently got a makeover. This means there are comfy chairs and the latest technology that other area planetariums are missing. That includes a hemispheric projection dome.

Mark Percy, Planetarium Director for the Williamsville School District, told News 4,”We’ve got our classic spit star projector here, with over 6,000 holes in just the right spots to make the constellations appear in the ceiling right where they should be. We’ve got a set of video projectors that can cover the dome in high resolution videos. So anything we can do with our mechanical star projector is still in the system, but now it’s actually a 3-D universe simulator!”

The 5 projectors opened up a whole new world for visitors.

Percy said, “They’re just thrilled and excited and they want to come back and learn more!”

The planetarium used to be just for lessons on space. Now it’s a blank canvas for any subject taught in 3-D.

Percy went into detail of all the subjects he’s able to teach. He said, “Going inside the human body, inside the ancient Egyptian monuments and pyramids, so with this technology we’ve got programming for all different subject areas.”

The programs are made for all age groups ranging from kindergartners to adults.

He said, “With our youngest learners we want to introduce them into the environment and make sure that they understand it’s safe and welcoming to learn about the sky. As they go into 1st and 2nd grade we get into more details about characteristics of the planets. Then as they get older we just get into more and more in depth science.”

Students in the district get first dibs on the education enhancing tool but schools from outside the district can come for field trips too. Percy wanted to make sure everyone around Western New York knew! He said, “Everybody and anybody who is living in Western New York that wants to come visit is welcome.”

For more details on booking the planetarium for a field trip or if you’re interested in the community education classes available go to the Found It On Four section of our website.

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