The campus of Bowling Green State University has any number of examples of engaging architecture. From the Student Rec Center to the Wolfe Center, each building has it's way of standing out among the others.
Few, though, provide as dramatic a profile as the university's Planetarium, an upside-down half-circle jutting from the western base of the Physical Sciences Building. Constructed in 1983-1984, the facility has since been offering students and visitors alike, a climate-controlled view of thousands of night skies, through countless courses, presentations and public showings.
In a recent public show on early ocean explorers, viewers under the 40-foot dome, seated in comfortable reclined arm chairs, were treated at the show's start to a look at that specific night's sky projected on the dome by the facilities' Minolta star projector. (The project can simulate the position of over 4000 stars as seen from anywhere in the world.) A review of the major constellations and celestial bodies is conducted by Dale Smith, Professor and the Planetarium Director. On good weather nights, following the night's presentation, participants are offered the opportunity to visit the observatory on the roof of the attached five-story Physical Science Building and stargaze.
"Even after twenty-five or twenty-six years, there will be questions I am asked for the first time." Dr. Dale Smith happily asserts when asked about the discussions he holds with audience members during each of the public shows. In addition to the traditional offerings of weekly presentations (which generally change once a month), the Planetarium can also be reserved for specific shows for groups of over fifty-five individuals. Presentation topics include astronomy, history, biology and many others. Most shows mix views of different evening skies with multi-media elements of projected imagery, music and other sounds.
Regular public show times at the Planetarium during BGSU's academic year are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm, and Sundays at 7:30 pm. Information on which shows are scheduled, and much more information about the Planetarium is available on the it's website: physics.bgsu.edu/dept/planetarium.