For those looking to take a trip through the solar system, the travelling planetarium could be your launch pad.
The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre has sent a portable planetarium to tour through northern B.C. and has made a landing in Terrace.
“Right now, we have a program that’s traveling up to northern communities in B.C. because typically not everyone will necessarily have the opportunity to come all the way down to Vancouver for our planetarium,” says space interpreter Matthew Cimone.
“People may not know what they’re looking at, they may not know they’re looking at a star that’s actually a nebula or planet out in space… we can interpret the science for them and what they’re seeing in the night sky when they’re looking up.”
On April 11, the Terrace Public Library invited the public to Suwilaawks Community School’s gymnasium to take a journey into the ‘blueberry’-looking planetarium on April 11 and approximately 200 people participated.
It’s also been exhibiting at local schools in Terrace to engage and educate youth about the galaxy.
“We’ll talk about Mars and how we might want to colonize it in a couple of decades, but I’m not so worried that they remember all those specific details,” Simone says. “It’s more that we’ve planted a seed of wonder for them. That when they come out, they’re asking more questions and they want to know more about the wider universe and that maybe it will lead to a career in science.”
He adds it’s important for everyone to be curious about outer space because it helps us reflect on the world.
“My favourite planet is Earth because it’s a planet that we live on, one that we’ve evolved on, our species is safe here, it cradles us,” he says. “When we look out into the stars, we recognize that our planet really is special. Even in our own solar system, there’s nowhere else that humanity can live so I think looking out into the universe gives us a better appreciation for our own planet and our need to take care of it.”
Although the planetarium can offer an interactive experience that’s difficult to create elsewhere, Simone says that if anyone is curious about the galaxy — there are a lot of resources available nowadays for them to find out more about it.
“I’m amazed with how much know knowledge young people already have about space before even bringing the planetarium,” Simone says. “If you’re interested in space, you can go [online] and learn so much about the stars and planets.”
The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s portable planetarium will be travelling to Prince George next.