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WES Fourth Grade Visits a Planetarium

By Tate Marcinkoski

This month, the fourth grade went on a really cool field trip to the planetarium at Eastern University in Wayne. We started our visit in the auditorium, which had a huge dome and digital projection screen. Dr. Bradstreet, an astronomy professor at Eastern who is also director of the planetarium, talked to us about what we were seeing on the screen.

First, the dome was covered in stars of all different sizes and we looked at different constellations such as Leo and Orion. Then the screen took us to the sun. Sitting in the auditorium chairs, it felt like we had actually landed on top of the burning hot sun! It looked like the sun had huge flames coming off of it.

We also explored the planet Saturn. We couldn’t “land on” Saturn because it’s made up of mostly gas, but we were able to travel through Saturn’s rings, which looked like flying pieces of rock. We also zoomed to Mars, which was covered in rocky, red dirt. I didn’t spot any aliens, but maybe they were hiding from us!

One of my favorite parts was when Dr. Bradstreet told us how to find the planets in the night sky. He said if we look for particular constellations and hold out our arms to make a right angle, the line created would point to where the planets are in outer space. Dr. Bradstreet also explained how Earth rotates and revolves around the sun.

When we finished the space show, we went outside to the planetarium’s observation deck, where there is a giant telescope. We took turns looking through it at the sun. Even though it was a cloudy day, we could still see it pretty well.

This was one of the best school field trips I have ever taken. I definitely recommend a visit to Eastern’s planetarium. It is open to the public several times a year for special shows including a holiday themed one called The Star of Bethlehem.

The web site is:

https://www.eastern.edu/academics/programs/astronomy-and-physics-department/julia-fowler-planetarium

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