Special to the Press
NEW BRITAIN - For those looking for some free and fun science, look no further than Central Connecticut State University’s planetarium.
The Copernican Observatory and Planetarium opened its doors back in the 1970s.
The planetarium usually isn’t open to the general public. Large groups need to book in advance to see the stars. Students at CCSU and other local schools come through to do a little star-gazing from time to time.
For the general public, free shows are available on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
The shows last about an hour and a half and consist of taking a look at those bright balls of plasma plastered all over the 35-foot dome. The staff members on hand point out major constellations and the planets that can be seen.
The remaining half of the program centers on a theme. On Saturday, the planetarium show will focus on lightning and thunderstorms.
The Saturday program starts at 8 p.m. and seating is on a first-come, first-serve-basis. The planetarium can accommodate 90 people.
Even better than observing the universe inside the planetarium, guests are invited onto the roof afterwards.
If the skies are clear, visitors can peek through different telescopes. For those visitors who show up early, there are also physics demonstrations that start at 7:30 p.m.
On Monday, Aug. 7, a partial lunar eclipse will take place. While the planetarium is the best place to view the eclipse, the planetarium may not have enough staff for the viewing, according to Planetarium Director Craig Robinson.
With students off on summer break, there are fewer people around the campus, but Robinson remains hopeful that an event for the eclipse can take place at CCSU.
The planetarium is located in CCSU’s Copernicus Hall, which is found between 245 and 175 Paul Manafort Drive. Parking is available for free in the Copernicus parking garage.