The force was strong as community members, elected officials and Triton College staff and administration members gathered to celebrate the completion of renovations to the Cernan Earth and Space Center, Tuesday evening, May 24.
The occasion was marked by a ceremonial rocket launch outside of the Cernan Center, located on the west side of the Triton College campus. Attendees were then treated to a show in the newly upgraded planetarium, which demonstrated the capabilities of the new state-of-the-art fulldome projector.
The projection system, called the Super MediaGlobe II, projects onto the planetarium’s 44 foot diameter dome, beautifully displaying educational and entertaining programs for audiences of all ages covering a wide range of topics including astronomy and space exploration as well as other sciences, history, culture, music and more.
“One of my goals here is to increase everyone’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of the beautiful universe that surrounds us, and we can do that in many different ways.” said Cernan Earth and Space Center Director Kris McCall.
In addition to the new projection system, new carpet, seating and acoustics were added to the planetarium. Additionally, solar panels were installed on the outside of the Cernan Center. The panels, which provide supplemental power to the building, were supported by grants from the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
The Cernan Earth and Space Center, which originally opened in 1974 on Triton’s campus, is named for astronaut Eugene Cernan. Cernan, who was born and raised in suburban Bellwood, flew aboard the Gemini 9, Apollo 10 and Apollo 17 space missions. In December 1972, Captain Cernan became the last human to leave footprints on the moon.
The Cernan Center reopened in its current facility in 1984.
The Center’s Space Hall (lobby) contains a variety of exhibits related to astronomy, space science and earth science. Among them are Captain Cernan’s Apollo 10 spacesuit, a 1/15 scale space shuttle model, Hubble Space Telescope exhibit, and Apollo Lunar landing diorama. Outdoor exhibits include an Apollo practice capsule and Nike Tomahawk missile.
The Star Store Gift Shop located within the Cernan Center contains an assortment of unique gifts related to astronomy and space exploration.
For more information on the Cernan Earth and Space Center, or to see the full schedule of events, visit www.triton.edu/Cernan, or call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372.