press & News

New Season of Adult Astronomy Classes at Strasenburgh Planetarium

    ROCHESTER, NY—Adult lifelong learners seeking to expand their astronomy knowledge are encouraged to attend a new season of Astronomy for Adults at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) Strasenburgh Planetarium. Sessions blend science, the arts and history for an intellectually stimulating experience. The classes take place on select Wednesdays at 2pm through December.

    Community members learn to be experts on the sky. Each program 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. Regular presenters are Steve Fentress, director, Strasenburgh Planetarium, RMSC and Paul Krupinski, planetarium show presenter and proprietor of the Buffalo-based Mobile Dome Planetarium. Class topics and other details are included below:

    October 5 – Connections: Art, Music, Astronomy

    One of the Planetarium’s most popular adult programs returns! See how 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 musical elements that give an otherworldly sound to works such as Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna” (known from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey).

    October 19 – Einstein’s Outrageous Universe: Recent Research

    Gravitational waves, black holes, dark energy, the Big Bang – these are some of the consequences of Einstein’s theory of gravity, published 100 years ago. Session instructors will have just returned from a three-day, invitation-only educators’ workshop at the University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, hearing the latest from scientists working on the cosmic frontiers. They will share the best stories and the newest imagery and visualizations.

    October 26 – Small Worlds: Pluto and more

    It’s been a little over a year since the New Horizons space probe flew past Pluto and its moons. The download of photos and data to Earth is almost complete. Pluto and its moons are unlike any other worlds in our solar system, and more complex and interesting than we expected. View a special performance of our show “Pluto at Last!” updated with the best imagery from New Horizons.

    November 2 – A Short History of Planetariums

    The first planetarium was invented in the early 1900s as an educational exhibit for a museum in Munich, Germany. But the emotional and even spiritual power of a planetarium sky surprised the world. See how the planetarium idea spread from Germany through the cultures of Japan and America, eventually leading to Rochester’s Strasenburgh Planetarium. Illustrated with many rare pictures.

    November 9 – How to Select and Buy a Telescope

    What kind of telescope is best? How much do telescopes cost? What can you see with the kinds of telescopes regular people can buy? Where do you buy telescopes? These are frequently asked questions at every planetarium at holiday time. Get oriented with some basic information you can use if you’re thinking about a telescope, either as a gift or for yourself.

    November 16 – Mysteries of History: Where Did We Get Our Constellations?

    Modern star maps have constellation names mostly in Latin and individual star names mostly in garbled Arabic or Greek. A few of today’s constellations are probably among the oldest of all surviving human creations. How did this happen? Dive into the complex and multicultural history of the names we find on star charts today.

    November 30 – Other Worlds Like Ours: Discovering Habitable Exoplanets

    It’s not a matter of guessing anymore. Our understanding of our place in the universe has been revolutionized in the last 20 years. We now have physical evidence indicating that most stars probably have planets. Many of them are likely to have temperatures suitable for Earthlike conditions. See a custom performance of our show “Other Worlds Like Ours,” updated with recent discoveries.

    December 7 – Solar Eclipses 2017 and 2024

    On August 21, 2017, the moon’s shadow will sweep across the continental U.S., making a total solar eclipse. In Rochester it will appear as a deep partial eclipse. Find out what’s happening, what we can expect to see and where to go for totality. Then preview the next solar eclipse that will be total in Rochester’s sky, on April 8, 2024.

    December 14 ­– Digital Astronomy for Everyone

    Astronomy has often been one of the most satisfying things to do with personal computing devices. In this program, take a tour of some of the best websites and free or inexpensive software for desktop computers, tablets and phones. Find out how you can participate in crowdsourced research projects from your personal computer.

    Costs for the Astronomy for Adults courses are $7 Adults, $6 Seniors 62+ or group members and $5 RMSC Members. No child tickets are sold for these programs.

    Register at Groups of ten or more can speed up check-in by making a group reservation and having one person pay at the box office. Call 585.697.1942 with the group leader name and the number of people in the group. If multiple members of the group will be using wheelchairs, let the group schedulers know so they can arrange space for a good view.

    The complete Planetarium show schedule and other details are available at For high-resolution images and additional information, contact Amanda Bayer, Marketing Communications Manager, RMSC at 585.697.1962 or or visit the Press / News section of our website at

    Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.