Planetarium adds attraction and learning tool

by By Tom Nurre Angelo State University

The Angelo State University Planetarium recently installed a new GeoDome Globe in the facility’s front lobby/display area that will provide state-of-the-art learning and research opportunities for ASU students, as well as an exciting new element for community visitors of all ages.

The GeoDome Globe is 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) in diameter and features an OmniFocus 4K dual laser projection system and a touchscreen kiosk with audio. It also utilizes a high-performance Elumenati IG image generator and WorldViewer software to provide 360-degree global views of a wide array of programs and subjects, including:

Solar System programs

Current weather patterns, precipitation and temperatures

Current satellite tracks and locations

Volcanic and tectonic activity over the last 10,000 years

Historical extreme weather data, including tropical storms, hurricanes, etc.

Paleo, geographical, astronomical and historical maps

Astronomy programs specifically for kids.

The system is also equipped with the “Eyes on the Earth” software that was created in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Students and visitors can use the interactive controls to access real-time NASA data on the Earth’s “vital signs,” including air temperature, carbon dioxide, sea levels, ozone, ice and water, as well as explore previous NASA mission data on the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere and land masses. NASA-curated tours and 3-D explorations of planets and their moons, asteroids and other objects in the solar system are also available.

Additionally, the WorldViewer software will allow ASU faculty and students to create images, shows and content for the GeoDome Globe and the Planetarium.

“We are very excited to have the new display in the Planetarium lobby,” Dr. Kenneth Carrell, Planetarium director, said. “It will allow visitors to see excellent high-resolution images and data about our Earth and space, and it will allow faculty in our Department of Physics and Geosciences to create interactive and immersive content for our classes and the community. Many faculty members already have excellent ideas and plans on how to incorporate this new teaching tool into classes at various levels, as well as research projects.”

The ASU Planetarium annually welcomes about 3,000 visitors of all ages, including groups from local and area K-12 schools, scouting programs, assisted living facilities and various community organizations. Additionally, the public Planetarium shows offered weekly during the spring and fall semesters average about 3,500 attendees each year. The lobby/display area where the GeoDome Globe is located is also open daily to ASU students and the community during regular business hours.

The purchase of the GeoDome Globe from The Elumenati was funded through ASU’s Hispanic Serving Institution – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (HSI-STEM) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.



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