StarLab Inflatable Planetarium
For most of us, a star-filled night sky is a distant memory. With urban light pollution, even the more remote areas of Eagle Rock don’t get the full effect of “clean” night skies anymore. How can we share the awe and beauty of a natural night sky with our kids?
Enter StarLab! This portable, inflatable, huge planetarium is coming to Botetourt. Bring the whole family to one of these special events:
- Thursday, July 14, 1-3 p.m. at the Botetourt Family YMCA (in the gym)
- Thursday, July 21, 1-3 p.m. at the Bonsack Baptist Church (in the gym)
You don’t have to be a YMCA or church member to enjoy this experience, so come on out!
What can you expect from this experience? And what is the StarLab, exactly?
The Classic StarLab System is a great astronomy-teaching tool. The lab includes a huge vinyl dome with a projector that displays the night sky inside. When you step inside the dome, you’re treated to a beautiful night sky.
But not just any night sky! The StarLab experience includes a presentation of more familiar skies, the constellations and changing visibility we see today from our backyards – noting the many stars that we can’t see due to light pollution.
Then you’ll step back in time to see a colorful combination of classical Greek constellations and the folk legends that surrounded them. The presentation weaves together astronomy, mythology, history, art, social studies and even literature – all in one fascinating swoop.
After your StarLab experience, you (or your kids) may be slightly obsessed with astronomy. The libraries have you covered there, too! Check out books or even streaming video (via our “Just for Kids” online resource) to learn more about the stars, constellations, and urban light pollution. Want to take a closer look? Check out an Orion StarBlast 4.5” telescope from any of our four library locations, to take home and use in your own backyard (14-day checkout period). Special thanks to the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society for donating these telescopes to our libraries so everyone can enjoy them!
If you’re participating in our Summer Learning Challenge, you can earn badges for doing astronomy-related activities, like watching a Summer Constellations video or identifying constellations.
For many people, gazing up at the night sky is a form of therapy. By seeing the vastness of the universe, our own troubles seem small by comparison. This perspective can be very helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed by day-to-day minutiae and problems.
You might have to stay up rather late this time of year, but it’s worth the wait. Step outside your door after dark on a clear night, and revel in the rich beauty of bright stars and planets far, far away. It’s a thrilling way to explore this huge, exciting world!