Fels Planetarium - Philadelphia, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 57.530 W 075° 10.388
18S E 485212 N 4423202
Quick Description: This Planetarium is on the Winter Street side of the Franklin Institute and can be accessed through its own dedicated entrance or through the Institute. The Fels' Planetarium is the nations second oldest planetarium.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 7/23/2009 10:51:14 PM
Waymark Code: WM6VJC
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Fels Planetarium (demonstrations accompanied by 45-minute explanatory talks, 3p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. Sat.; 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sun. and holidays; closed Christmas and Independence Days; adm. 25¢), entrance on Winter St. facing the parkway, was the gift of a Philadelphian, Samuel S. Fels, and demonstrates the movements of heavenly bodies. Upon the domed metal ceiling of the planetarium, 68 feet in diameter, a Zeiss mechanism of small lights, gears, and shutters projects the celestial bodies as they travel in their courses. Within a few minutes the visitor is shown the position of stars and constellations during one terrestrial year.” --- Pennsylvania: A Guide to the Keystone State, 1940; page 279

In 1933, Samuel S. Fels contributed funds so that the new Franklin Institute could have a planetarium, only the second in the United States. Today, it is a popular attraction, especially with bus loads of children from neighborhood schools and summer camps. I can say from experience, this place is a lot of fun adn has changed a lot from my visits in the seventies.

"The Planetarium's new design optimizes the viewing experience. The 2002 renovations included replacement of the original 40,000 pound-plus, perforated stainless steel dome, built in 1933. The new premium seamless dome is lighter and is 60-feet in diameter. Manufactured by Spitz Inc. of Chadds Ford, PA, the dome is the first of its kind in the United States.

Enhancements include a state-of-the-art aluminum dome that envelopes the audience and provides the ultimate screen for cosmic projections, upgraded video projection and super-fidelity systems, theater controls, lighting system, carpeting and theater seating, and ADA accessibility. The planetarium is also outfitted for visitors who are hearing impaired.

...Although it is a historic cornerstone to The Franklin Institute, the planetarium has come a long way from the "Giant Ant" (Zeiss Optical) projector some of you may remember from when you were kids. Now, this state-of-the-art digital projection planetarium offers the same traditional Sky Tonight presentations along with cutting edge astronomical presentations. The awe inspiring dome measures 60 feet across and 4 stories tall, which coupled with surround sound, makes the planetarium experience one you will not soon forget.


SOURCE

Book: Pennsylvania

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 279

Year Originally Published: 1940

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