Support the Planetarum
The Wayne State Planetarium has a mission of public outreach for the promotion of the sciences and more particularly modern astronomy. We are proud to offer weekly public planetarium shows, Science Under the Dome monthly lectures, and many shows for K-12 groups at low cost to students. However, the planetarium needs support for maintenance, acquisition of new equipment, and for the development of new shows.
Please consider making a donation to the planetarium. Any amount you can donate will help us continue our weekly presentations and the expansion of our outreach programs.
Wayne State University and the Department of Physics and Astronomy are passionate about science education. And because of our commitment to Outreach, which is centered around our state-of-the-art digital planetarium, we can excite, amaze and inspire our audiences, whether young or adult, about the wonders of science.
We are accomplishing our mission through education, outreach programs, and service to the community.
We have a world-class university and a world-class science department that is acclaimed for academic excellence and cutting-edge research: Wayne State University and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Our enthusiastic faculty and staff have a strong commitment to educational outreach and are especially committed to the K-12 schools in the Detroit metropolitan area. With the universe at our fingertips, we instruct and entertain our audiences with our amazing planetarium shows and educational outreach programs.
Our outreach efforts begin in the intimate setting of the Wayne State University Planetarium, home to a new digital projection system, and travel beyond the doors of our theatre. Our outreach motto is,"the Sky is NOT the limit!"
In addition to our educational planetarium shows we present: Phantastic Physics Phenomena demonstrations; hands-on science activities; and, "Science Days" that we organize and host in partnership with other science departments.
Our planetarium is the vehicle that enables us to reach the largest audiences possible and through our outreach programs, we are bringing a new level of physics and astronomy education to the community.
Service to the community
As an urban university, we are immersed in a city that has its share of challenges. We meet these challenges head-on through our service to the community. For the past 8 years, our planetarium has hosted the NASA SEMAA (Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy) program for K-12 schools. Youth in the city of Detroit participate in these summer programs and are engaged in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
National Trend Emerging
Nationally, a dangerous trend is emerging: Fewer students are selecting degree programs in the Sciences, and overall science and mathematics scores are declining. Technical jobs in private industry and government are unfilled due to shortages of scientifically literate workers.
We are raising awareness about the need for continued scientific literacy. Through our service to the community, we are addressing this issue and bringing positive change to the city of Detroit and the surrounding communities.
The year 2010 ushered in a new era for the Wayne State University Planetarium as we upgraded to a SciDome HD digital system. The capabilities of this new digital system greatly surpass our former optical-mechanical star ball and have presented us with endless possibilities. We can create our own original automations, present the current night sky, display celestial objects from a database that consists of thousands of objects, travel to planets in our Solar System and beyond, and present fulldome films.
Since our upgrade, we have made great strides. In a short period of time, we have increased visitation to our planetarium by over one hundred percent!
We present shows for the WSU community of students, faculty and staff; K-12 schools; senior citizen groups; scouting groups; special interest groups; and, public planetarium shows and public science lectures for the general public.
We are just scratching the surface. We spearheaded an advertising and marketing campaign to increase our visibility both on and off campus and this has resulted in three beautiful wall murals that decorate the hallway directly outside our planetarium doors; interior and exterior signage; a new planetarium website; and brochures and posters. And we have created new automated planetarium shows.
Our future plans include development of: K-12 physics and astronomy summer camps centered around planetarium shows and hands-on science activities; Saturday morning family planetarium shows; adult "Science Café" events; and, programs outside the realm of physics and astronomy, to involve other departments in planetarium activities.
We are offering our first Physics and Astronomy Summer Camp, aptly titled, Camp Cosmos, June 20-July 1, 2011. This exciting camp will be centered around our planetarium and include planetarium programming, science lectures and labs, and a true Wayne State campus experience!
We have since created a new series of science lectures called Science Under the Dome and have successfully held our first two lectures during the fall 2010 semester: Have you Seen Higgs and Exploring the Night Sky from Your Backyard. We will be rolling out an exciting winter 2011 semester schedule with talks about Cosmology, the Hubble Space Telescope, and Renewable Energy.
There are many challenges ahead and much to be done to accomplish our goals. Our wish list is great, but not unobtainable.
Your generous contribution will help us to continue our outreach efforts by enabling us to:
- Purchase materials for new program development (new fulldome films and outreach materials for science activities)
- Provide assistance for K-12 schools that want to visit our planetarium but do not have the funds
- Expand and enhance our team allowing us to increase our impact and the number of students we serve
- Establish a dedicated Learning Center to conduct hands-on science activities
- Remodel the inside of our Planetarium