Fred F. Silk
While here to install the projector Eric Melenbrink, our representative from Ash Enterprises, received a check from Howard Ruben, development director of The Wilderness Center.
Mr. Melenbrink, also on the staff of the Universe Museum and Planetarium in Richmond, works on soldering one of the scores of connections made through three cables which power the different elements of the projector.
Bob Hawes, senior naturalist for TWC and wood worker extrodinaire, constructed the portable lift needed to raise and lower the projector into position in the multi-purpose classroom which houses the planetarium.
With the projector mounted to the lift and the cables connected, Eric attaches the starball to the projector to begin the process of checking performance. Minor technical problems unfortunately delayed completion of the final alignments and settings. Eric will return sometime this Fall to complete the installation and conduct training.
Joann Ballbach, standing beside Sky-Scan's "Spice Automation" Control unit, anticipates what it will be like to use the new projector in TWC's growing program of astronomy education with area school groups.
With the projector tilted to the required latitude for our location, the stars come out under the 5 meter dome of the Fred F. Silk Planetarium. The bright light on the starball projects an impressive image of the Milky Way across the sky.
The red glow of "sunset" is just one of the features made available with the the new projector. Along with "sunrise" and the Milky Way, the Viewlex machine also offers the Sun, Moon and un-aided eye planets along with grid lines for the ecliptic, equator and meridian. Adjustable "star circles" can be used to highlight specific objects in the sky and the effects of precession can be demonstrated as well. A new era of astronomy education at The Wilderness Center is dawning!
(Photos by Rev. Dave Ross)
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Last updated September 6, 2000 by Rev. Dave Ross