Sunday, March 17, 2013

Youngest Stargazers Introduced to Astronomy at Planetarium

Inside the Robert J. Novins Planetarium in Toms River. 

Inside the Robert J. Novins Planetarium in Toms River, New Jersey..

Written by
Debbie Mura
Special to Community Reporter
Mar. 16, 2013 2:43 PM
About 25 small children and their adult companions didn’t need their winter coats to view the night sky on March 9. Besides, it was only 11:30 a.m. when they stared up at the Big Dipper and other constellations from the comfort of their seats in the Robert J. Novins Planetarium.
“Where’s Elmo?” children shouted out to presenter Richard Mack as he pointed out the Great Bear and a pair of hunting dogs that could be drawn in the night sky.

The youngsters had come to see “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure,” in which they learned that the stars they see from their backyards are the same ones children in China gaze upon. They were even treated to a rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in Chinese.

Located on the campus of Ocean County College, the 100-seat planetarium offers a full schedule of 10 shows every weekend as well as group and school performances during the week.

Designed for the youngest stargazers, ages 7 and under, the Saturday morning show begins by projecting outdoor scenery on the dome above and all around the audience. While it’s daylight at first, the sun slowly begins to set and then disappears more quickly by the power of the youngsters’ imagination and counting aloud.

Now comfortably submerged in darkness, the youngsters are urged to shout out when they see their first star. Soon they are staring at hundreds of stars while Mack takes them on a tour around the dome, showing them points of interest.

The Robert J. Novins Planetarium, Toms River, New Jersey:
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Source: Asbury Park Press, Asbury Park NJ.


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