Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  MARQUETTE – The Seaborg Center at Northern Michigan University recently received a Starlab Portable Planetarium that will benefit area students. It is a gift from Kaleidoscope, an annual science event for children held in the NMU Superior Dome.

The inflatable planetarium, measuring about 16 feet wide and about 11 feet high, is appraised at $10,500.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “It is designed to be used for instruction, dealing with many aspects of astronomy,” Seaborg Center Associate Director Duane Fowler said. “Since it is portable, it can be taken to area schools, thus providing some visual instruction without the need to travel to Marquette and the Shiras Planetarium. The principal areas to be served are the Marquette and Alger county schools.”

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  The planetarium has a light source, like a projector, near the center on the floor, Fowler explained. When a cylinder with small holes drilled into it is placed over the light, spots of light appear on the inside of the dome, resembling the night sky. The cylinder is motor driven to represent the motion of the stars.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “The cylinders are interchangeable,” Fowler said. “We have six different ones.”

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  One cylinder shows the constellations according to Greek mythology, and another shows them according to Native American legends. Another cylinder illustrates the celestial coordinate system.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  According to Fowler, the Kaleidoscope Committee decided several years ago that all the profits from their annual event, held each February, would go to purchase a Starlab Portable Planetarium. This year, the group was able to get the planetarium, and it was a central attraction at Kaleidoscope 2002.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “The [Seaborg] Center is most grateful to the Kaleidoscope Committee for its desire to provide such a facility for the students of the two-county area, and to allow the Seaborg Center the opportunity to serve the students & teachers in this way,” Fowler said.

Duane Fowler can be reached at 906-227-2008.

Prepared By
Jessica Holman