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Planetarium program brings science to students

Posted July 27, 2015

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— Images of Pluto coming back from the New Horizons space probe are sparking new interest in the night sky, but students interested in learning more about space no longer need to take the long trip to Chapel Hill’s Morehead Planetarium.

A program is bringing the planetarium experience to students throughout North Carolina, thanks to a portable planetarium.

Students at Research Triangle High School’s summer science camp in Durham are able to learn what it takes to be an astronaut during an out-of-this-world experience that allows those who may not be able to travel to the planetarium in person.

“It’s a way to serve under-served communities and take the excitement of space further into the state,” said planetarium educator, Nick Eakes.

An inflatable dome, which travels to schools year-round, houses a theater. As the scenes inside change, it feels as though the room is moving, creating an immersive experience that enraptures students. The program, which has been around for about four years, is fun and entertaining and helps at least some students to learn something new.

“We’re hoping that students really become excited about exploring, whether it’s here on Earth or things in outer space,” said Eakes.


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