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Our ZKP3 Skymaster optical-mechanical planetarium projector offers our astronomy students the unique opportunity to observe 7,039 individual stars through 6.3 magnitude as well as 25 deep space objects such as nebula, star clusters and galaxies. In addition, the ZKP3 can simulate the sky as seen from any point on Earth at any time within a few thousand years of the present.
All apparent celestial motions in the sky, including those of solar system objects are represented along with constellations overlays and reference grids, scales and lines needed for accurate positional measurements during educational experiences.
Please remember we are planetarium, not an observatory. Our ceiling does not open to revel the actual night shy to be observed with a telescope; rather our dome shaped ceiling remains closed and acts as a hemispherical projection screen for the planetarium projector to accurately simulate the celestial phenomena of night sky as well as their locations and natural motions.
As the planetarium is committed to promoting astronomy and space science awareness, we regularly host special presentations for a wide variety of campus groups and visiting guests. In past semesters our visitors have included individuals form student dormitory groups, special interests clubs and organizations, Greek and honor societies, non-astronomy classes, orientation and admissions guests, and various guests of administration.
Committed to promoting and providing quality astronomy education and space science awareness, we have been delighted to participate in the College Auxiliary Services’ educational enrichment program, Summer Safari. In summers past we have conducted an astronomy workshop entitled, The Backyard Astronomers’ Club.
The Backyard Astronomer’s Club is an introduction to amateur astronomy for adolescent beginners. This, one to five day, mini-workshop is an interactive experience that highlights aspects of amateur astronomy which virtually any novice can enjoy from their own backyard or neighborhood.
Initially, students assemble a basic night-sky observer’s kit including a sky journal notebook; planisphere; simple astrolabe; red light flashlights; and seasonal observational charts for the sun, moon, planets and constellation.
Next, students learn about a variety of celestial phenomena they can readily observe (e.g. sun, moon, planets, stars, aurora, meteors, comets, eclipses artificial satellites and Messier objects) as well as how to record their personal observations using a simple celestial coordinate system.
At the conclusion of the workshop the students will have accumulated quite a number of resource materials to return home with for future night-sky observing. Weather permitting, students will have an opportunity to observe a number phenomena with binoculars and small telescopes during an evening viewing session.
We can only hope to inspire a new generation of arm-chair and amateur astronomers!
The Planetarium annually invites the visiting families of our campus students to attend one of several presentations offered over the course of September’s Family Weekend. Although admission is free, seating is limited and tickets must be obtained through the Family Weekend mailing issued by the Student Activities Office, (518) 564-4830.
The Planetarium annually invites visiting alumni and their families to attend one of several presentations offered over the course of October’s Homecoming Weekend. Although admission is free, seating is limited and tickets must be obtained through the Alumni Affairs Office, (518) 564-2090.
To learn more about the Northcountry Planetarium at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact
Glenn Myer, Director
Office 218 Hudson Hall
Phone: (518) 564-3166
Fax: (518) 564-3169