Astronomy for Adults

Astronomy for Adults

Lifelong Learning Courses at the Strasenburgh Planetarium

Adult lifelong learners seeking an intellectually stimulating and provocative program blending science, the arts and history are invited to this new series of weekday afternoon programs at the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium. Not geared for children, each session lasts about an hour, divided between a rich audio-visual presentation and a tour of current stars, planets and constellations using the Planetarium’s giant star projector. Attend several sessions and you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert on the sky!

Your regular presenters are Steve Fentress, Director of the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium, and Paul Krupinski, Planetarium show presenter and proprietor of the Buffalo-based Mobile Dome Planetarium.

Tickets

Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. 

$7 Adults
$6 Seniors 62+ or group members
$5 RMSC Members

Groups of 10 or more can speed up check-in by making a group reservation and having one person pay at the box office. Just call the RMSC group scheduling experts at 585.697.1942 with the name of your group leader and the number of people in the group. If multiple members of your group will be using wheelchairs please let our group schedulers know so we can arrange space for a good view.

The café at RMSC, on the lower level of the RMSC Museum building, is open from 11am to 3pm. Consider having lunch at RMSC before coming to the Planetarium program! Plan to depart from the café at 1:30 to arrive at the Planetarium in time to get a comfortable seat before the program begins.

 

Spring 2018 Course Offerings

van gogh rhoneMarch 21 at 2pm – Connections: Art, Music, Astronomy

See how master artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Ansel Adams meticulously observed the astronomical phenomena they depicted, and how modern astronomers have reconstructed the celestial configurations we see in their works. Hear and understand specific musical elements that give an otherworldly sound to works such as Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna” (known from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey).

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Eclipse mapMarch 28 at 2pm – Preview of the 2024 Solar Eclipse: What To Do Now

Have you picked your viewing spot for the next total solar eclipse in North America, April 8, 2024? This time, Rochester will be in the path of totality. People who saw the August 2017 eclipse from places such as Oregon and Tennessee will tell you that a total eclipse is completely different from a partial eclipse like the one we had in Rochester. We’ll examine the 2024 path and timing, and look back at what we can learn from last year’s eclipse.

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The Rise and Fall of the ET Stock MarketApril 11 at 2pm The Rise and Fall of the Extraterrestrial Stock Market

Featuring guest speaker RIT Professor Michael Richmond

Before the telescope was invented, astronomers often imagined sentient beings populating the Moon and the Sun. When telescopes enabled scientists to begin determining the physical properties of other planets, and the probability of finding life on other worlds slowly decreased. But in recent years, as we have found planets circling other stars, our optimism for extraterrestrial life is rising again.

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April at 2pm – Holst in the DomeSaturn with musical notes

The Planets, by the English composer Gustav Holst, is one of the most popular pieces of concert music ever written, and has been used as “space music” for countless movies and videos. Yet Holst was inspired not by real planets, but by astrological horoscopes. In a unique combination of recordings and visuals, explore Holst’s career and influences, and we’ll listen to highlights in preparation for the real thing, played by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra later that week!

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MarsApril 25 at 2pm – Mars Comes Near Us: Will the 2003 Craze Return?

Mars and Earth approach each other in space about every 26 months. About every 15 years we come closer than usual. Last time, in 2003, there was a viral e-mail and long lines at telescopes to gaze at the alarmingly bright orange light in the sky. Another unusually close approach to Mars happens this summer. We’ll review the facts and history to get ready.

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60s photo of Strasenburgh PlanetariumMay 2 at 2pm – A Short History of Planetariums Including Ours

Invented as an exhibit for a German science museum in the 1920s, the projection planetarium caught on worldwide, eventually becoming a new kind of science theater. Follow the story, from the early German machines through can-do innovations in postwar Japan and America, to the Strasenburgh gift to Rochester in the Space Age, and the digital possibilities of today and tomorrow.

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Man working on Zeiss star projectorMay 9 at 2pm – Zeiss with the Covers Off: The Star Projector Revealed

If you like gears, lenses, and electrical wires, gather around the pit in the center of the Star Theater for a rare tour of the mechanical, optical and electrical marvels inside the Planetarium’s 1968 Zeiss Mark VI star projector. It’s showing its age and may retire to a place of honor as an exhibit in a few years, but for now it still works amazingly well! P.S. Did you know that the Zeiss company did not want to paint the machine blue?

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Astronomy softwareMay 16 at 2pm – Astronomy on Your Computer, Tablet and Phone

Astronomy has always been one of the most satisfying things to do with personal computing devices. In this program, tour some of the best websites and free or cheap software for desktop computers, tablets, and phones. Find out how you can simulate past or future sky events, download pictures from space missions, participate in crowdsourced research projects, and get reliable space news. Feel free to bring your phone or tablet and use our wi-fi.

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Course Questions?

For questions about any of the Adult Astronomy Courses, please contact Planetarium Director, Steve Fentress at 585.697.1946 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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