MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University's new planetarium is open. It is a place where students and the public can observe what's going on in the night sky.
The planetarium is already being used for public shows to watch stars and astronomical events.
It contains 60 seats that look like movie theater chairs, a computer console in the corner of the room and a projector in the middle of the room.
According to physics professor Earl Scime, planetariums are becoming increasingly rare at universities, which is why he believes the one at WVU can be so valuable.
"From the student perspective, we teach descriptive astronomy and often students who take astronomy class think it's all going to be looking at constellations, and pictures of the sky. Astronomy classes are really some basic fundamental science courses, but there is a component of that that involves looking at celestial objects, and now we have a facility where we can bring them in and show them these objects," he said.
"We sometimes take them out for night viewing with telescopes, the weather in West Virginia can be unpredictable, particularly at night you can get a lot of cloud cover, so the planetarium gives us a certainty that we can show them these objects, and the night sky, and the universe in an entertaining way as well."
This particular planetarium uses a projection system, an SLR camera and two lenses to project an image into a dome on the ceiling, which looks like the sky at night.
Scime says the planetarium can also use some "special effects" to enhance the experience.