Let us look to the stars

A planetarium is cool. Kids and adults alike are exposed to the vastness and intricacy of the Universe. A planetarium and the educational programs that go along with it can be a pillar of science education in a community. All the cool metropolitan areas have one. But we don’t have one in the Twin Cities.

But we are working on it. There has long been a plan to build a new 120 seat planetarium (long ago we did have one in Minneapolis) at the site of the new Bell Museum, to be located adjacent to the Saint Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota. (Click here for more information: PDF and HERE for an FAQ on the Bell Museum and Planetarium project) For years this project has been thwarted by anti-science elements in the Republican Party who have variously been ensconced either in the governor’s office or in one or one or both of the legislative bodies. At the moment, and we don’t know how long this will last, we have a pro-science governor AND the DFL (that’s what we call Democrats in Minnesota) is in the majority in the House and Senate. Now is the time to move on this, to support a bonding bill that will include the planetarium as well as other facilities for the Bell Museum.

If you would like to help support this project, especially if you live in Minnesota, you can drop an email or note with your house and senate reps. You could say something like, “I support the Bonding Bill to construct a new Planetarium at the Bell Museum of Natural History. Please vote in favor of this project.” Click HERE to find out who your reps are (you have two, one House and one Senate). Express your support to the Governor HERE.

We are, verily, a mere speck in the vastness of the universe. But surely there is room on this speck of ours for more science education, and we need this planetarium in support of that important effort.

Oh, and as far as I know, the Planetarium will be covering real science, despite this.

Comments

  1. #1 Nathan
    February 12, 2014

    This will be located at Larpenteur and Cleveland Aves on the boundary of the St. Paul campus of the Univ. of Minnesota. Interesting tidbit: the state legislature in 1872 mandated the creation of a Museum to contain, preserve and exhibit all specimens from a comprehensive natural science and geological survey of the state. This is a crucial state asset for its schoolchildren, adult learners, and science professionals alike. Second tidbit: the herbarium of the Bell Museum contains 900,000 different plant/fungi/algea/lichen specimens! This is about more than just stars shows, although that’s personally my favorite aspect.

  2. #2 Calli Arcale
    February 12, 2014

    Well, the Science Museum has a star projector in its Omnitheater, taking advantage of its dome-shaped screen. But it’s not the same thing, and honestly, they don’t make enough use of it. I do remember back in the 80s, attending a lot of presentations that *did* use the star projector, but I don’t think they do as many of those anymore, which is a shame.

  3. #3 G
    February 13, 2014

    For a few years I’ve been predicting that anti-science ideologues would eventually go after the space program, because the data coming in from space telescopes and robotic missions to the planets directly conflict with creationism.

    Blocking a planetarium is just one step shy of attempting to defund NASA.

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