Day 140: Abrams Planetarium

Photo courtesy of Abrams Planetarium1 Day 140: Abrams Planetarium
Photo courtesy of Abrams Planetarium

In 1963, the Abrams Planetarium was founded on the campus of Michigan State University. The planetarium was named after Talbert ‘Ted’ Abrams, a pilot during WWI, who became intrigued by aerial photography. After the war, he founded Abrams Aerial Survey Corporation, where he was able to take aerial photographs for the government. After some time, he opened Abrams School of Aerial Surveying and Photo Interpretation to teach others what he did and how to use his top-notch technology. Around the same time that the Planetarium was opening in his honor, he founded the Abrams Foundation to help Lansing students and local causes. The foundation and the Abrams Aerial Survey Corporation still continue in Lansing to this day, despite the death of Ted Abrams in 1990.

The Planetarium as a whole is filled with exciting exhibits that invite people to learn about the solar system and experience the night sky in a totally different way. It is split into three sections: the Exhibit Hall, the Blacklight Gallery, and the Sky Theater. The Exhibit Hall is the entrance to the Planetarium and connects to the Blacklight Gallery, which contains large astronomical paintings created with fluorescent paint and lit by ultraviolet lights, giving the effect of looking out into space. The incredible Sky Theater is the main dome where all of the exciting shows take place. Inside, are 150 theater-style chairs that all tilt back so show-goers feel as though they are really under the night sky. The shows function by the use of 20 projectors and one fish-eye lens that can show the whole hemisphere sky on the ceiling. The projectors create images such as the planets or the lines of the constellation, which makes for a fun learning environment for kids and adults alike.

Photo courtesy of Abrams Planetarium Day 140: Abrams Planetarium
Photo courtesy of Abrams Planetarium

At the family shows, the crowd is not only invited to participate but also gets to zoom through black holes, ride on meteorites, and learns what the East Lansing sky looks like with all of the constellations and planets.  “It was such a fun time for the kids but I also learned some interesting things. We even went through a black hole, which was such an insane experience!” says Nathan Schultz, a Michigan State University alumni from Jackson, Michigan, after leaving a show.

One of the many great things about the Planetarium is that it is so inexpensive –for a show, the cost for an adult ticket is only $3.00, while senior citizens and students pay $2.50, and children under 12 pay $2.00. So bring the whole family and experience the awe and wonder of the sky above you! ~Leighanna Whiting, Regional Director

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