Science North is presenting the planetarium experience to students and residents in Northwestern Ontario thanks to a new portable planetarium unveiled Friday morning in Thunder Bay.
Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle, who also is minister of natural resources, was on hand at the Science North’s outreach base, located in the Boys and Girls Club building, for a live demonstration of the new experience.
“This is an amazing hands-on experience for any northerner interested in astronomy, and is a great example of how educational opportunities can be tailored to reach everyone in our riding, no matter where they live,” said Gravelle.
“The mandate of Science North is to serve all of Northern Ontario,” noted CEO Guy Labine.
“We have been offering astronomy programs in a portable planetarium through outreach programs for a couple of years, but [our] presence in Northwestern Ontario has been very limited due to distance,” he said.
“We’re pleased to now offer the planetarium as part of our standard program offerings, in the northwest.”
As part of its outreach program Science North scientists, based in Thunder Bay, will be available to travel throughout Northwestern Ontario with the portable planetarium, visiting schools and public events to provide a high-quality and interactive experience.
The portable planetarium is an inflatable dome equipped with a digital projection system that mirrors the permanent installation at the Science North science centre in Sudbury.
Staff scientists will deliver live planetarium shows, as well as astronomy and space dome films, in the portable planetarium, and also will have access to a comprehensive library of scientific data and ready-to-use educational materials.
“It is wonderful to be extending the planetarium experience to residents of Northwestern Ontario through our outreach program,” said Nicole Chiasson, Science North director of Education and Northern Programs.
“Science North delivers hands-on educational programs to schools in Northern Ontario and general science activities to festivals, fairs, and malls,” she noted.
“This portable planetarium will bring astronomy to a whole new level.”