University of Guelph Unveils Portable Planetarium for Astronomy Enthusiasts

   Guelph and Wellington County now have the opportunity to explore the cosmos with the unveiling of a portable planetarium by Royal City Science and the University of Guelph's physics department.

The seven-meter inflatable dome features a built-in projection system, allowing the stars to be brought to schools and public events across the region. Orbax Thomas, co-founder of Royal City Science, emphasized the significance of taking the planetarium directly to people, making it accessible for educational purposes and public outreach.

The portable planetarium, funded through a donation from the estate of Jim Stevens, matched by the Canadian Space Agency's youth STEM initiatives, aims to inspire thousands of young individuals towards careers in the sciences. Joanne O’Meara, another co-founder at Royal City Science, highlighted the importance of support from the space agency, emphasizing its endorsement of their efforts to reach students in various communities.

The project includes education on Canadian space missions, with a focus on the Canadian Space Agency’s moon exploration initiatives, the Lunar Gateway Station "Artemis II" mission, and discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope. Customized programming will also introduce people to Indigenous moon and star lore teachings, blending First Nations night sky knowledge with Western astronomy.

Orbax Thomas expressed the hope that bringing this mobile unit to schools and public events will spark interest in science, particularly in a region with a strong foundation in science-based industries. The initiative aims to inspire the local community by showcasing that scientific exploration is not distant but a part of their own region.

To find out more about the planetarium and upcoming expeditions in your community, visit the website.