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Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium Programming Commences

planetarium2015_cropOn Friday, March 6, after a two-year hiatus, the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at Buffalo State will resume its public programming. The planetarium is one of this city’s most stellar assets that opens our eyes and our minds to the universe around us.

Whit-Ferg-1-BuffAt this point, the planetarium will be operating in a temporary inflatable counterpart to the permanent physical structure that will be completed in 2019 as part of Buff State’s $100 million Science and Mathematics Complex construction project. It turns out that waiting for a total of six years was just too long to bear, and a plan was hatched to bridge the timeline gap in order to get the programming back on track*. The temporary inflatable planetarium is made possible thanks to funding from the Whitworth and Dorothy Ferguson Foundation. The public programming will commence on Friday, March 6 inside Buckham Hall.

“Buffalo State is incredibly grateful for the generosity and support from the Whitworth and Dorothy Ferguson Foundation,” said Buffalo State President Katherine S. Conway-Turner. “Because of the foundation’s wonderful commitment to the planetarium project, Buffalo State will once again be able to provide the Western New York community—most importantly our region’s K-12 students—with an inspiring look at the stars.”

For those who have not paid a visit to the planetarium, the programming goes well beyond simply viewing the celestial skies. Once the operation is back up and running, the Buff State fixture will help to impart education as it relates to Earth Sciences and the Science Education Department. In a day and age when our space explorations are reaching further and further, and our minds are collectively opening to the possibilities of life on other planets, there couldn’t be a better time to invest and support such an exploratory home-base operation.

“In a planetarium, you’re immersed in the visual experience,” said Kevin Williams, planetarium director and associate professor of earth sciences and science education. “It’s happening all around you, with a narrator acting as your tour guide or telling you a story. It helps audiences connect to the experience.”
Williams, a planetary geologist who is mapping an area on Mars, is excited about also using the planetarium to teach Earth’s geology. “Students can view Earth and visualize its global systems—weather, volcanoes, even the movement of the continents.”
*The first public program, starting on March 6, will include a “Buffalo’s Winter Sky” presentation followed by “Oasis in Space,” a program about where water, and possibly life, exists beyond Earth. Future programs will discuss the engineering of solar system missions, updates on encounters with Ceres and Pluto, and extreme stars. All programs will include an interactive portion that presents the stars, planets, and constellations visible at that time of year as well as uncommon celestial events. – Buffalo State
Inset photos: Continued support from the Ferguson family will allow for the new 35-foot-wide spherically shaped facility (rendering pictured) to include an opto-mechanical star projector and a digital projector, continuing to extend teaching opportunities beyond astronomy to disciplines as diverse as biology, art, and music. – Buffalo State

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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