Springfield Science Museum to reopen newly refurbished Planetarium

Hampden County

Credit: Springfield Museums

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The planetarium inside the Springfield Science Museum is making a return this Friday, after 18 months of work done in renovations and interruptions from the pandemic.

The planetarium received some new paint, carpets, and theater seats during the renovation. However, the biggest renovation is the Korkosz starball, located in the center of the dome room.

“Although most visitors will not be looking at the furniture when they have the heavens presented above them, they will probably be a lot more comfortable in our new seating,” said Springfield Science Museum Director Mike Kerr. “The starball, however, might catch their full attention before the lights go out. It will no longer be hidden behind a solid barrier, but instead is available for all to see behind a protective, but open-work fence.”

The starball was created by Chicopee brothers Frank and John Korkosz in 1937. At the time of its creation, there were only five other planetariums open in the country. It took a lot of work to make sure the ball was prepared for reopening but the ball will continue to be the main feature of the program.

Planetarium Manager and STEM Educator Kevin Kopchynski is looking forward to reopening, “We were excited to offer virtual astronomy experiences throughout the pandemic, many of which you can still access on our website, but it is truly wonderful to invite visitors back to our planetarium to experience the stories of the night sky together.”

Beginning Friday, families can begin to enjoy the program. Children under 12 years of age are required to wear a mask while inside the planetarium.

Throughout the day, several planetarium shows will be available:

Magic Sky

Join Jesse in a dream adventure sparked by a bedtime story about the night sky, digitally remastered for a video format with added special effects.  Through story and song, children explore the concept of day and night and discover that the sun is really a star. Recommended for ages 5 and up

Mystery of the Disappearing Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for nearly 200 million years and then, in the geological blink of an eye, they were gone forever. How did creatures that big suddenly vanish from the face of the Earth? Travel far out into space, deep inside the earth and back in time as we try to unravel the mystery of the disappearing dinosaurs. The show is digitally remastered for a video format with new effects added. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Splendors of the Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring Sky

What is that you’re seeing in the sky at night? With the planetarium stars as the backdrop, find out how to locate and identify celestial objects, planets, and constellations as the seasons change. The seasonal changes in the sky are probably the first scientific observations made as people sought to anticipate the seasons and grow their food crops. As you observe these changes you participate in one of the fundamental cycles of nature. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Tickets to the planetarium are free for Springfield Museums members. For nonmembers, tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for children under the age of 17.

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