NC Morehead Planetarium
There are two known planetariums in North Carolina which will
definitely attract people who are very much interested with astronomy:
the OmniSphere Theater in Greensboro and the Morehead Planetarium and
Science Center in Chapel Hill.
Originally known as The Edward R. Zane Planetarium before it was closed
in August 2007 and reopened in February 2013, the OmniSphere Theater is
part of the Natural Science Center of Greensboro. It features a 40-foot
dome that puts the audience in an exciting way of screening the outer
space. The theater boasts its Konica Minolta's premier Media Globe II
digital planetarium system. The theater screens feature length films and
documentary films that deals with the outer space.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Morehead Planetarium and
Science Center on the other hand is North Carolina's largest
planetarium. It opened in 1949, the first planetarium in the south and
the sixth built in the United States, initially for training Gemini and
Apollo program astronauts. Responsible for the planetarium's
neoclassical design was John Russell Pope, the same person behind the
Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The building's construction made history for
being the most expensive building ever built during that time, at $23
million dollars. The planetarium serves as home the one of the world's
largest working Copernican orreries, devices used for illustrating
positions and motions of the planets and moons in the solar system in
The first show in the planetarium was "Let There Be Light" and was
followed by the "Star of Bethlehem" in 1949, a more popular show which
survived the ages. The show has been repetitively revised all throughout
and was still shown until 2002 and has been considered as the longest
streak for any holiday show at any of the country's planetarium.
Morehead Planetarium can accommodate 250 viewers. It features a Carl
Zeiss Model VI Planetarium Projector, which was installed in 1969, and
can display about 8,900 different stars, with the help of slide
projectors and video projectors, in the 68 foot dome. In 1973, the
building's East Wing was opened which led to the opening of the Morehead
Observatory that includes a 24-inch Schmitt Cassgrain telescope.
It also became one of the first computer automated planetariums when
its programs were installed for automation in 1984. More complex shows
have become more possible from then on. Regular shows in the planetarium include "Carolina Skies," a live
star show that explores the current night sky of Carolina, "Destination:
Space," a multimedia production that features astronauts' travel to the
moon, "Extinction!" a multimedia production that explains the extinction
of dinosaurs and the current situation of our animals, "Life In the
Universe" which explores the universe for other possibilities of life
and the "Solar System Adventure" that puts visitors in a guided "tour"
in the solar system.
Other treats in Morehead include youth and family programs, school
programs and other special events that would definitely make learning
astronomy more than great.