Digital Planetarium & Observatory

With a state-of-the-art digital planetarium and an observatory that houses the largest optical telescope in New York state, the sky is, quite literally, the limit for Oneonta astronomy buffs.

In addition to providing valuable teaching, learning and research opportunities for science students, the facilities are increasingly used by elementary school classes, Scouts and other community groups. Last year, more than 1,800 people visited the planetarium during free, monthly, public shows, as well as special events like the annual NanoDays science activity fair; school visits and even birthday parties. On clear nights, planetarium shows are followed by public observation nights, which offer a chance to see planets, stars and distant galaxies through a 40-inch telescope.

Unlike the older star ball planetariums, which simply project images of celestial objects onto a dome, SUNY Oneonta's digital planetarium show features built-in animations powered by customizable software that can zoom in on the Orion Nebula, tour Jupiter's moons or "fly" to a star upon request. Students are engaged in the teaching experience, which enriches their own understanding of the night sky.

Assistant Professor Jason Smolinski presents a show in SUNY Oneonta's digital planetarium.
Photo by Michael Forster Rothbart

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