Astronomy for Adults

Astronomy for Adults

Lifelong Learning Courses at the Strasenburgh Planetarium

Adult lifelong learners seeking an intellectually stimulating and provocative program blending science, the arts and history are invited to this new series of weekday afternoon programs at the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium. Not geared for children, each session lasts about an hour, divided between a rich audio-visual presentation and a tour of current stars, planets and constellations using the Planetarium’s giant star projector. Attend several sessions and you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert on the sky!

Your regular presenters are Steve Fentress, Director of the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium, and Paul Krupinski, Planetarium show presenter and proprietor of the Buffalo-based Mobile Dome Planetarium.


Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. 

$7 Adults
$6 Seniors 62+ or group members
$5 RMSC Members

Groups of 10 or more can speed up check-in by making a group reservation and having one person pay at the box office. Just call the RMSC group scheduling experts at 585.697.1942 with the name of your group leader and the number of people in the group. If multiple members of your group will be using wheelchairs please let our group schedulers know so we can arrange space for a good view.

The café at RMSC, on the lower level of the RMSC Museum building, is open from 11am to 3pm. Consider having lunch at RMSC before coming to the Planetarium program! Plan to depart from the café at 1:30 to arrive at the Planetarium in time to get a comfortable seat before the program begins.


Fall 2017 Course Offerings

Illustrated year in review photoOct. 18 at 2pm – The Illustrated Year in Review with guest speaker David Bishop

One of Rochester’s most experienced amateur astronomers shows and explains his amazing collection of the past year’s best imagery from astronomy and space exploration. David searches far and wide for pictures and stories that are unusual and significant. A few pictures may be familiar, but many more will probably surprise you.

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van gogh rhone 260x163 minOct. 25 at 2pm – Connections: Art, Music, Astronomy

Science and art come together in this favorite presentation. Review early visions of space by Chesley Bonestell and other artists. See how other top-flight artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Ansel Adams made careful sky observation part of their work. Hear the secret to the mysterious sounds of music from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (and sing along if you dare).

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Man with telescope at RMSCNov. 1 at 2pm – How to Select and Buy a Telescope

What kind of telescope is best? How much do telescopes cost? What can you see with the kinds of telescopes regular people can buy? Where do you buy telescopes? These are frequently asked questions at every planetarium at holiday time. Get oriented with some basic information you can use if you’re thinking about a telescope, either as a gift or for yourself.

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Nov. 8 at 2pm – Digital Astronomy for EveryoneDigital astronomy program sample window

Astronomy has always been one of the most satisfying things to do with personal computing devices. In this program, take a tour of some of the best websites and free or cheap software for desktop computers, tablets, and phones. Find out how you can participate in crowdsourced research projects from your personal computer.

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Astronomical Imaging photoNov. 15 at 2pm – Astronomical Imaging: Catching Up to the 1950s with guest speaker Professor Michael Richmond, School of Physics and Astronomy, RIT

Most astronomers today, both professional and amateur, use electronic detectors to take astronomical images. Is there any doubt that our current cameras are bigger and better than any used by scientists decades ago? YES, there is doubt. Let Dr. Richmond try to convince you that, if we choose one reasonable manner of measuring the quality of a detector, it is only now—or, perhaps, in the past five years—that modern electronic detectors have finally caught up to the good old photographic plate.

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Old photo of a Carl Zeiss Star ProjectorNov. 29 at 2pm – A Short History of Planetariums Including Ours

The first planetarium was invented in the early 1900’s as an educational exhibit for a museum in Munich, Germany. But the emotional and even spiritual power of a planetarium sky surprised the world. See how the planetarium idea spread from Germany through the cultures of Japan and America, eventually leading to Rochester’s planetarium. Glimpse what new technology could do for our planetarium. Illustrated with many rare pictures.

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SaturnDec. 6 at 2pm – Astro-Preview of 2018

The coming year opens with a hard-to-see lunar eclipse and includes Jupiter and Saturn in the summer sky, the closest approach of Mars since 2003, and good prospects for the Perseid meteor shower. We’ll crank the gears of the 50-year-old star projector into the future to preview these celestial events. We’ll also look at notable space flight launches that might happen in 2018.

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Course Questions?

For questions about any of the Adult Astronomy Courses, please contact Planetarium Director, Steve Fentress at 585.697.1946 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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