TRAVELING PLANETARIUM PROGRAM
Museum Education and the UAF Geophysical Institute joined forces to bring the state's only digital portable planetarium to communities in rural Alaska.
Click the links below to learn more about our efforts to share space science with Alaskans.
Portable Planetarium outreach is now coordinated by UAF's Geophysical Institute.
Contact Doreen Hayward at 474-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASA funding brings space science to rural Alaska
A grant from NASA allowed educators to begin traveling in 2009 to rural Alaska communities with a digital portable planetarium, purchased by UAF in 2007 with funding from BP and ConocoPhillips. The Digital STARLAB projection system and its 4-meter and 6-meter diameter domes can be easily transported as checked luggage or by small plane to more remote communities and set up in venues ranging from school gymnasiums to small community centers. It is the only system of its type in Alaska.
The grant supported development of an Alaska-specific planetarium program and "NASA Days" in rural communities over three years (2009-2011). No-cost extensions continued the outreach through 2012. "NASA Days" included planetarium shows for schoolchildren designed to illustrate grade-specific space science concepts; educational materials and activities for teachers to be used throughout the school year; and an evening community science night with planetarium shows and activities highlighting current NASA research.
Planetarium presentations were available for K-12th grades. Programs were 20-40 minutes in length, illustrated grade-specific science concepts and complemented teachers' lessons. Students cheer, whistle, and grin while learning about stars, planets and space science in the dome.
Community Science Night
As part of our visit, we offered an evening of fun and learning for the whole community. Participants enjoyed hands-on activities outside the dome and planetarium shows in the dome.
Activities were led by local volunteers. Activities include:
- Van Gogh’s Starry Night
- Solar System on a String
- Constellation Tube
- Glow in the Dark Poster
- Build an Astrolabe
We worked with grant partners and schools throughout the state to reach a wide range of geographic locations. Communities visited include:
- Arctic Village
- Delta Junction
- Fort Yukon
- Kenny Lake
- Lake & Peninsula School District
- District academic meet held in Newhalen.
- Participating students from 14 communities:
- Chignik Bay, Chignik Lake, Chignik Lagoon, Egegik, Igiugig, Kokhanok, Levelock, Newhalen, Nondalton, Pedro Bay, Perryville, Pilot Point, Port Alsworth, Port Heiden
- Little Diomede
- Lower Kalskag
- North Pole
- Pitka's Point
- St. Mary's
- Stony River
- Two Rivers
- Upper Kalskag
- Dr. Robert Herrick, Associate Research Professor, Earth & Planetary Remote Sensing, UAF Geophysical Institute
- Dr. Laura Conner, Research Assistant Professor, College of Natural Science & Mathematics, UAF (Former Head of Public Programs & Education Director, UA Museum of the North)
- Jennifer Arseneau, Education and Public Programs Manager, UA Museum of the North
- Chris Cannon
- Kyle Campbell
- Robin Davis
- Jena Hecker
- Patrick Joyce
- Amy Rath
- Joy Shockley, Cultural Program Director, Tanana Chiefs Conference
- Angela Larson, Goldstream Group
- Jennifer Carroll, College of Rural & Community Development, UAF
- Dr. Jonathan Dehn, Geophysical Institute, UAF
- Dr. Hajo Eicken, Geophysical Institute, UAF
- Dr. Patricia Heiser, Geography Department, UAF
- Dr. Dirk Lummerzheim, Geophysical Institute, UAF
- Roger Topp, UA Museum of the North
- John Gallagher, Regional Starlab Educator; HS Science Teacher (WA); Mississippi State University Instructor
- Chris Johnson, Koniag Inc. Chairman; Information Management Corporation President (Seattle)
- Stephanie Rudig, 5-6th Grade Gifted & Talented Teacher (Fairbanks)
- Dr. Michael Sfraga, UAF Geography Program Director
UAF Planetarium In the News
For the Planetarium Community
Lesson Scripts (used with Starry Night Small Dome software)
Full Dome Aurora Borealis Movies
These scripts and media have been developed by UAMN. Download for educational use is permitted. Commercial or for profit use is prohibited.
Photos on this page by Roger Topp and Jennifer Arseneau