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Hartnell College Plans Reopening of Planetarium and Family Science Day for May 1

April 22nd, 2004

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 1. That's the date for the reopening of the planetarium and Family Science Day at Hartnell College.

There will be continuous planetarium star shows; NASA astronomy and space science exhibits; physics, chemistry and engineering demonstrations; solar telescope viewing; geology and biology displays; and much more, according to Charlene Frontiera, dean of Hartnell's math and science division.

"We invite the community to join us for a variety of fun and enlightening science activities for all ages," she said.

The festivities are free and will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the J. Frederic Ching Planetarium and Merrill Science Hall, both located off of Central Avenue.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the planetarium will take place at 11 a.m., and the planetarium shows will showcase the new digital system, which projects full-dome video in addition to portraying the starry night sky. Konica-Minolta manufactured the new projector call the "Mediaglobe" and selected Hartnell as its western United States' demonstration site.

The planetarium, built in 1962 and named for one of the college's former presidents, has been closed since June 2003, according to Andrew Newton, planetarium director. He said that besides the "Mediaglobe," improvements include a surround sound system, new lighting, a refurbished dome screen, new seats, carpeting, heating, cooling, and electrical systems.

The renovation of the planetarium was made possible by the passage of Measure H in 2002, a NASA-CIPA grant and donations from Konica-Minolta.

Family Science Day participants include the Center for Adaptive Optics at the University of California-Santa Cruz, NASA-Ames Research Center, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Fremont Peak Observatory Association, the Hartnell Society of Physics Students, and Hartnell's MESA-ACCESS biology-chemistry club, and the faculty and staff of Hartnell's math/science division.

For more information on the events, call (831) 755-6913.