The new Christa McAuliffe Space Center starts Planetarium shows

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PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Christa McAuliffe Space Center has a new building and a new planetarium, and shows for the public have begun, with careful social distancing in place.

The Space Center is hosting shows from the newest and second largest planetarium in the state.

James Porter, Director of the Center, was busy programming new images of Neptune into the system. He explained that the tech has really changed since the days of lights and pinholes.

“We’re pulling data from NASA and astronomers off of the Digistar network. It allows us to superimpose the latest imagery onto the dome. Sometimes less than three days from when the images and data were gathered in space.”

This makes the images on the dome a type of space trend.

New software from Utah’s Evans and Sutherland helps optimize the dome theater experience.

The Planetarium hosts several shows, with a variety of personal and family interests.

Porter added, “The new building lets us be close to the community and connect easily, allowing us to engage and focus for our local community.”

The Space Center has been a teaching and learning tool for kids for the last 30 years. They host simulated missions into space from two hours to over ten. More than 10,000 students from around Utah have been involved with the experience.

Right now, six simulators are being readied for when the COVID-19 conditions allow the missions to resume.

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