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.


Spring 2017 Course Offerings

van gogh rhone 260x163 minMarch 1 at 2pm – Connections: Art, Music, Astronomy

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).

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other worlds 260x163 minMarch 8 at 2pm Other Worlds Like Ours: The Search for Habitable Exoplanets

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.

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March 22 at 2pm – The End of the Cassini Saturn Mission end of cassini

After 13 successful years orbiting Saturn, the Cassini space probe will be sent into Saturn’s atmosphere to burn up as a meteor on September 15, 2017. Before then, Cassini will attempt a daring series of orbits between Saturn and its inner rings. Through photos and videos, we’ll review Cassini’s accomplishments and discoveries and look ahead to the grand finale of the mission.

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commercial space March 29 at 2pm – The Commercial Space Race from Shuttle Retirement to Commercial Spaceflight with guest speaker Kevin Cooke 

Retirement of the Space Shuttle led to a focus on commercial sources such as the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to conduct American missions in low Earth orbit. The progress of NASA's Orion capsule and SLS form a backdrop to rapid development of the ULA 'Starliner', Sierra Nevada 'Dream Chaser', and SpaceX 'Dragon' capsules. Reusable launch vehicle research and its impact on established service providers such as the ULA and ArianeApace is also included. Kevin Cooke is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology at RIT.

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solar eclipse 260x163 minApril 5 at 2pm – Eclipses 2017 and 2024 

A total eclipse of the Sun occurs August 21, 2017. It will be partial from Rochester, weather permitting, and total along a path across the continental U.S. Using the clockwork of the Planetarium star projector, follow the cycles of the moon’s motion and how they lead to eclipses. Get tips on what to watch for and take home information about the 2017 eclipse and the “big one” coming to Rochester in 2024. Safe solar viewing glasses will be available for purchase for $2 additional.

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history constellations 260x163 minApril 12 at 2pm – Mysteries of History: Where Did We Get Our Constellations?

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.

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planetariums history 260x163 minApril 26 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 to the Strasenburgh gift to Rochester and the digital possibilities of today and tomorrow.

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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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