Renovated Planetarium offers richer experience

By Staff Writer
November 7, 2002

Paul Williams

The Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa., reopened its doors on Oct. 25 to upgrade multimedia technology offering visitors a richer experience of what lies beyond the night sky.

Replacing the original dome built in 1933, which weighed more than 40,000 pounds, the planetarium now features a new premium seamless dome, which is the first of its kind in the United States. Additional upgrades include enhanced video projection and super-fidelity systems, theater controls, lighting systems, carpeting and theater seating.

“We come here about two or three times a year,” John McNamee, of Berwyn, Pa., said as he waited in line with his wife and daughter at the planetarium on Sunday, Oct. 27. “It’s a tradition for our family to visit the Franklin Institute. We come with both immediate family as well as extended family,” McNamee said. “I saw [the planetarium] a long time ago, but not recently.”

The Fels Planetarium is currently showing three different features throughout their daily showtimes. “Wonders of the Universe” allow viewers to “peer deep into space through the eyes of the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope, and travel back billions of years to witness the birth of the universe.”

When asked if she enjoyed seeing “Wonders of the Universe” in the upgraded planetarium, Debbie Tierno, of southern New Jersey, immediately said “yes.”

“This is my first time coming here,” Tierno said while exiting the planetarium with her children, Marissa and Patrick.

Other shows in the planetarium include “Oasis in Space,” giving visitors an opportunity to “journey through our solar system and beyond,” and also “The Sky Tonight,” which is a “celestial nature walk through the night sky.”

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