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Spring Season of Adult Astronomy at Strasenburgh Planetarium Features New Classes and Recent Discoveries

    ROCHESTER, NY—Adult lifelong learners seeking to expand their astronomy knowledge are encouraged to attend the spring season of Astronomy for Adults at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) Strasenburgh Planetarium. Updated with new content, sessions blend science, the arts and history for an intellectually stimulating experience. The classes take place on select Wednesdays at 2pm starting March 1 and are not geared for children.

    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:

    March 1 – 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).

    March 8 – Other Worlds Like Ours: The Search for 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.

    March 15 – 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 and eventually became 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 and the digital possibilities of today and tomorrow.

    March 22 – The End of the Cassini Saturn Mission

    After 13 successful years orbiting Saturn, the Cassini space probe will be sent into Saturn’s atmosphere to burn up as a meteor on September 15, 2017. Before then, Cassini will attempt a daring series of orbits between Saturn and its inner rings. Through photos and videos, we’ll review Cassini’s accomplishments and discoveries and look ahead to the grand finale of the mission.

    March 29 – The Commercial Space Race from Shuttle Retirement to Commercial Spaceflight with guest speaker Kevin Cooke

    Retirement of the Space Shuttle led to a focus on commercial sources such as the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to conduct American missions in low Earth orbit. The progress of NASA’s Orion capsule and SLS form a backdrop to rapid development of the ULA ‘Starliner,’ Sierra Nevada ‘Dream Chaser,’ and SpaceX ‘Dragon’ capsules. Reusable launch vehicle research and its impact on established service providers such as the ULA and ArianeApace is also included. Kevin Cooke is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology at RIT.

    April 5 – Eclipses 2017 and 2024

    A total eclipse of the Sun occurs August 21, 2017. It will be partial from Rochester, weather permitting, and total along a path across the continental U.S. Using the clockwork of the Planetarium star projector, follow the cycles of the moon’s motion and how they lead to eclipses. Get tips on what to watch for and take home information about the 2017 eclipse and the “big one” coming to Rochester in 2024. Safe solar viewing glasses will be available for purchase for $2 additional.

    April 12 – 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 convoluted history of the names we use to find our way around the sky today.

    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.