press & News

RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium to re-open Saturday, Jan. 12

    Grand Re-Opening Celebration to span two weekends with new shows, all-ages activities, free telescope viewing, and more!

    ROCHESTER, NY—After three months of renovation, the Rochester Museum & Science Center will re-open its Strasenburgh Planetarium at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 with new shows, all-ages activities in the Science Museum and Planetarium, photo opportunities, free late-night telescope viewing, and more. RMSC’s Grand Re-Opening Celebration will take place Saturday, Jan. 12–Sunday, Jan. 13, and Saturday, Jan. 19–Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019.

    MEDIA PREVIEWS: Members of the media are invited to an exclusive preview event on Friday, Jan. 11, from 2–4pm. Members of the media may also attend an RMSC Member preview being hosted on Friday, Jan. 11 from 5–8pm. Please contact Mare Millow, Marketing Communications Manager, RMSC, 585.697.1944,, for more information.

    The centerpiece of the renovated Strasenburgh Planetarium is its new, state-of-the-art Digistar 6 full-dome projection system featuring unprecedented clarity and breathtaking images, which RMSC will show off in a brand new, all-ages feature presentation, Outer Space to Inner Space. Viewers will embark on a journey from Rochester to visit favorite planets and stars, then return to Earth to preview the 2024 solar eclipse before descending to the micro world of molecules and atoms. “Carl,” the Planetarium’s original star projector, also makes an appearance, and a sensory friendly version of the show will be added at a quiet time of day.

    The Planetarium will also bring back a perennial favorite in a new format: Its popular star show The Sky Tonight has been recreated using the updated technology, and will treat audiences to a concise tour of currently visible stars, constellations, and planets. And the 50-year-old Zeiss star projector, fondly known as “Carl,” is still in the Star Theater and will be included in each performance (the name comes from Carl Zeiss, the full name of the company that made the projector).

    Related activities the weekend of January 12–13 will include all-ages activities in the Science Museum, including make-an-take crafts; photo opportunities in the Science Museum and the Planetarium; commemorative merchandise in the Science Museum gift shop and Planetarium lobby; a limited-time space-themed display in the Science Museum lobby; and more. On the weekend of January 19–20, RMSC will also celebrate the total lunar eclipse visible the night of January 20 with late-night telescope viewing, weather permitting, and eclipse-related activities and experiences. 

    Initially, Outer Space to Inner Space and The Sky Tonight will run frequently to make it easier for visitors to attend at their preferred time. After the opening weeks the Planetarium’s menu of shows will expand with updated Saturday night laser shows and performances for K-12 school field trips. Plans for the remainder of 2019 include monthly Stars with Carl shows featuring the Zeiss star projector as the main attraction; monthly Dome Lab sessions, in which university students and other content creators will have the opportunity to try and test their full-dome photography and 3-D modeling projects; and sensory-friendly performances for families who prefer to enjoy the Planetarium as a lights-up, music-down, doors-open environment.

    The RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium closed in September 2018 for extensive renovations for the 50th anniversary of its dedication.

    As visitors enter the renovated Star Theater, they will discover new carpeting and wall covering; wider aisles; a flexible seating plan with new, wider chairs; and colorful new lighting created by a ring of programmable LEDs hidden around the edge of the projection dome. The image on the dome itself will now be created by the Digistar 6 system, built by Evans & Sutherland, a leading supplier of planetarium equipment based in Salt Lake City. About 200 other planetariums worldwide now operate with recent versions of Digistar, including three others in New York State. Viewers will see the Digistar image thanks to lenses made in Rochester. Projection onto the hemispherical dome will be handled by two concealed digital cinema projectors equipped with special lenses of a new design, made and donated by Rochester-based optics manufacturer Navitar, Inc. Helping to keep the projectors accurately aligned are custom-made support structures donated by Minitec Framing Systems of Farmington. Outside the theater, visitors will discover restrooms that have been completely remodeled for better accessibility.

    Architectural updates in the lobby and Star Theater were carefully planned to show respect for the Planetarium’s original design while adding flexibility for the future.

    The lobby and theater will function together for private events such as weddings and business meetings. A new food and beverage service bar designed for use in functions such as weddings and business meetings will allow RMSC’s hospitality team to offer new and improved services for special events. Customized displays on the dome using the Digistar system will be available as part of Planetarium event packages. To book an event, contact RMSC’s Hospitality Coordinator at 585.697.1943 or

    Strasenburgh Planetarium 50th Anniversary sponsors are Imagine Monroe, KeyBank, and Veluxsys by Precision OT. RMSC is funding the Strasenburgh Planetarium renovation primarily through private donations, including a major gift from John and Barbara Bruning, as well as two HemiStar HM4K-178 HL 4K fisheye projection lenses for the Digistar 6 projection system donated by Rochester-based optics manufacturer, Navitar, Inc. Former New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle also announced $500,000 in assistance, provided through the New York State Economic Development Program (NYSEDP).

    Strasenburgh Planetarium show times and ticket prices vary, and are at Science Museum admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and college students with ID, $13 for children ages 3 to 18, and free for children under 3 and RMSC Members. Science Museum and Planetarium combined admission (one Planetarium show) is $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and college students with ID, $18 for children ages 3 to 18, and free for children under 3. For group reservations and rates, call 585.697.1942.

    For high-resolution images and additional information, contact Mare Millow, Marketing Communications Manager, RMSC, 585.697.1944,

    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 and present, 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.