Students bored with the everyday environs of Ann Arbor can head over to the Angell Hall Planetarium and see 7,000 stars.
Patrick Seitzer, an associate research scientist at the University, said the planetarium — located on the third floor of the building — was built in the 1950’s to better serve astronomy classes on campus. On Sept. 1, 2004, a new, computer-run projector replaced the manual one that was installed in 1957.
Seitzer said the new system displays 7,000 stars, compared to the 1,000 that could have been seen in the manual projector. According to the Student Astronomical Society’s website, the projector can show other astronomical features, including the moon, planets, the Milky Way and star clusters.
Throughout the week, four undergraduate astronomy courses and one minicourse meet in the planetarium – the reason why the facility was built in the first place, Seitzer said.
“It is currently used for undergraduate education to teach the night sky and how to navigate it,” Seitzer said. “The planetarium guarantees the night sky for students in the classes.”
In addition to being used by the astronomy classes, the planetarium also holds open houses organized by the SAS for the general public every other Friday.
LSA senior Nhan Nguyen said he enjoyed attending one of the planetarium open houses.
“They give you a 15 minute presentation about the constellations that are available that night, and you go on the roof of Angell Hall which has telescopes set up,” Nguyen said. “I thought the presentation was humorous and not technical. Anyone could go and understand it, and it was entertaining.”
Nguyen said he would recommend anyone to go to the planetarium. “It’s one of the things that a student should do: go to the observatory of Angell Hall and the planetarium.”