UF Planetarium Offers Unique Learning Environment

The University of Findlay’s Newhard Planetarium is once again open to the public, with visitors following the university’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

UF says, if you’re interested in teaching and or learning in a unique and fun way, Newhard Planetarium could be just what you’re looking for.

A planetarium is typically considered a theatre inside of a dome in which a projector presents astronomy: the sun, moon, stars, planets, et cetera.

“Our planetarium here on campus is exceptional because the projector in the dome is digital, therefore, we are able to display any media,” said Steven Wild, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics.

“The idea is that we can project things up into the dome for viewers to watch. Typically, it’s items related to astronomy, but we can show all kinds of projections.”

Newhard Planetarium seats approximately 50 people and was closed to the public from March 2020 to June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, there were various groups that utilized the planetarium.

The groups of planetarium visitors included church groups, boy scouts, girl scouts, YMCA groups, summer camps, and local elementary to high school aged classes.

The planetarium averaged around a couple thousand visitors a year.

Some learning experiences that visitors would take part in at Newhard Planetarium included: Reading Under the Stars, Chemistry in a Box, Stories of Astronomy from Other Cultures, and even a showing about the astronomy of Harry Potter.

“The options are really endless with what fun activities we can do in the planetarium,” said professor Wild.

Moving forward, he hopes that more people get to use the dome for educational purposes.

“Overall, it’s a different experience for students and it’s something they get excited about.”

To learn more about Newhard Planetarium, visit the Newhard Planetarium webpage by clicking here or schedule a visit by emailing Dr. Wild at [email protected]