Settlemyre Planetarium Re-opens to Public

Settlemyre Planetarium Re-opens to Public October 13, 2012

Rock Hill, SC – The Museum of York County’s Settlemyre Planetarium will officially re-open to the public on Saturday, October 13, 2012 with a ribbon cutting at 10:45 am. Premier showings of the latest roster of new planetarium offerings will start at 11 am and will continue on the hour beginning at 1:00 pm through closing at 5:00 pm.

The Settlemyre Planetarium was established in 1977 and named in honor of former museum director and artist, J. Lee Settlemyre, Jr. His dedicated service from 1951 to 1974 inspired the vision for a museum and planetarium that welcomed all ages to explore the wonders of the natural world and the universe beyond. Since 1977, the planetarium has delivered space science educational programming to more than 410,000 individuals.

Over the past two months, the Settlemyre Planetarium has undergone extensive renovations. The Spitz 512 optical-mechanical star projector has been replaced with a Konica Minolta Media Globe III (MG3) digital projection system which not only allows viewers to view the night skies from earth but also allows them to travel through our solar system from the comfort of their seats – projecting from different points in space.

Viewers to the new planetarium can travel and circle a planet, view a planet from a nearby moon or even land on the surface. Other features allow viewers to see the nighttime Carolina Skies under pristine conditions in which the Milky Way and a multitude of stars are visible. Live feeds and public domain sources from NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) are also a feasible with the new projection system, along with the capability to utilize large format materials in other scientific disciplines such as life and earth science. More than 10 new packaged programs for public and school audiences may be offered as well as live sky programs such as the hallmark, Carolina Skies. Through November 20, public planetarium shows will run Tuesday through Saturday with daily shows at 3:00 pm. To allow the community another opportunity to visit and enjoy the planetarium, the Museum will extend operational hours on Tuesdays evenings until 8:00 pm through November 20 with planetarium programs at 6:00 and 7:00 pm.

Additional renovations include new carpeting, seating, LED lighting, digital surround sound and repainting of the existing thirty-foot dome. Renovations were also made to the exterior of the planetarium, replacing cases installed in 1994. A new touch screen panel, graphics and photomural have been installed to tie into the theme of “Exploring the Carolina Skies and Beyond.” The wall mural shows the southern sky on a summer night in the Carolina Piedmont and portrays a lunar eclipse that will actually occur on May 16, 2022.

The cost of renovations to the interior and exterior of the planetarium exceeds $300,000. Funding for the project has been provided by York County Hospitality Tax, The Well Fargo Foundation, Comporium, Blake T. Crook-Allstate, The Guild of the Museum of York County and Kathy and Larry Wilson.

Also opening on October 13 and running through January 6, 2013 in the Springs Gallery will be Our World, Our Sky, a new photographic exhibit offering visitors a vivid and dramatic view of the Earth’s geography. On loan from NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and supplemented by photographs of the Carolina skies taken by members of the Carolina Skygazers Astronomy Club, this exhibit has been installed to enhance and complement the Settlemyre Planetarium’s new technology and programming.

The Museum of York County is located at 4621 Mt. Gallant Road, Rock Hill. Admission Cost: Adults,$5; Seniors, $4; Youth, $3; Free for CHM members and children 3 and under. More information