The Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CAPS) at the University of Kent will launch its Kent SEPnet Astrodome, a state-of-the-art mobile planetarium, on Thursday 25 June.
The Astrodome will be officially opened by Professor Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, at 1:30 PM in Eliot College Hall on the University's Canterbury campus. Pupils from St Stevens Primary School, Canterbury, will receive the inaugural Astrodome talk. The launch is free and open to all.
THE Kent SEPnet Astrodome is one of the most sophisticated in the UK. Using a high-definition digital projector to provide a fully immersive cinema experience which can be used to explain concepts in space science and explore the universe, it will allow researchers from the University to travel out to schools throughout the county, and give students an exciting taste of astronomy - all without them having to use a telescope in the middle of the night. The dome will also be used for a series of space science shows over the summer, including the University's annual Spaceschool event in August.
Michael Smith, Professor of Astrophysics at the University's School of Physical Sciences, explained that the dome can accommodate 30 pupils at a time and can be inflated in a school hall in about 30 minutes. He also explained that 'CAPS has prepared a series of talks and shows which will give pupils a fascinating insight into astronomy and space science, as well as complementing classroom based lessons following the national curriculum.'
The Astrodome has been purchased as part of the University's 'International Year of Astronomy 2009' celebrations, which mark 400 years since Galileo first glimpsed the universe through a telescope and the birth of modern astronomy. It has been purchased with funds from the South East Physics Network (SEPnet), an organisation that aims to secure and promote physics as a strategically important scientific discipline within the southeast of England.