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.
Dates: Wednesdays at 2pm. See below for topics and dates.
$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 2016 Course Offerings
Oct. 5 – Connections: Art, Music, Astronomy
One of the Planetarium's most popular adult programs returns! See how top-level artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Ansel Adams were meticulous observers of the astronomical phenomena they depicted, and how modern astronomers have reconstructed the celestial configurations we see in their works. Hear and understand specific musical elements that give an otherworldly sound to works such as Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna” (known from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey).
Oct. 19 – Einstein's Outrageous Universe: Recent Research
Gravitational waves, black holes, dark energy, the Big Bang – these are some of the consequences of Einstein’s theory of gravity, published 100 years ago. Your instructors will have just returned from a three-day invitation-only educators’ workshop at the University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, hearing the latest from scientists working on the cosmic frontiers. We’ll bring you the best stories and the newest imagery and visualizations.
Nov. 2 – A Short History of Planetariums
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. Illustrated with many rare pictures.
Nov. 9 – 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.
Nov. 16 – Mysteries of History: Where Did We Get Our Constellations?
Modern star maps have constellation names mostly in Latin and individual star names mostly in garbled Arabic or Greek. A few of today’s constellations are probably among the oldest of all surviving human creations. How did this happen? Dive into the complex and multicultural history of the names we use to find our way around the sky today.
Nov. 30 – Other Worlds Like Ours: Discovering Habitable Explanets
It’s not a matter of guessing anymore. Our understanding of our place in the universe has been revolutionized in the last 20 years. We now have physical evidence indicating that most stars probably have planets. Many of them are likely to have temperatures suitable for Earthlike conditions. See a custom performance of our show “Other Worlds Like Ours,” updated with recent discoveries.
Dec. 7 – Solar Eclipses 2017 and 2024
On August 21, 2017, the moon’s shadow will sweep across the continental U.S., making a total solar eclipse. In Rochester it will appear as a deep partial eclipse. Find out what’s happening, what we can expect to see, and where to go for totality. Then preview the next solar eclipse that will be total in Rochester’s sky, on April 8, 2024.
Dec. 14 – Digital Astronomy for Everyone
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.
Dec. 21 – Small Worlds: Pluto and more
It’s been a little over a year since the New Horizons space probe flew past Pluto and its moons. The download of photos and data to Earth is practically complete. Pluto and its moons are unlike any other worlds in our solar system, and more complex and interesting than we expected. View a special performance of our show “Pluto at Last!” updated with the best imagery from New Horizons.