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Things to Do: Stargaze and Abrams Planetarium

Abrams Planetarium
Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 13, 2023

In the middle of Michigan State's campus, you'll find a place that is out of this world.

"We are at the Abrams Planetarium," said Director Dr. Shannon Schmoll. "We are primarily a space education place, so you can come here and learn all about space. A lot of our shows are about astronomy, from the history of astronomy to modern discoveries to the telescopes that we use."

Schmoll has been working at the planetarium for nine years and is the best person to give us the rundown on what the experience is like.

"When you first walk in, you will see our big earth right here. There's a button you can go push to make it spin, and so that's always a great welcome," Schmoll said.

And if you look up, you'll see origami cranes.

Abrams Planetarium
Abrams Planetarium

"They came to us via the Joey's Wings Foundation, which is a foundation that's looking for ways to fight childhood cancer. And so this is a moving exhibit," Schmoll said. "Right now, we are asking folks to help us make little origami stars for an art project that will go up into the planetarium at one point."

If you are coming for a public show, you'll want to go to the cashier at the gift counter to check in.

Also in the lobby are some great exhibits like the meteorite one.

"There you can learn about the Michigan meteorites. You can learn about different types, where we tend to find them, how you can find some micro meteorites in your own backyard," Schmoll said.

Abrams Planetarium
Abrams Planetarium

You can also check out MSU's first telescope. But the main attraction you don't want to miss out on is the planetarium system with a dome theater.

"Which allows us to show awesome planetarium shows that immerse you into space but also sometimes other places," Schmoll said. "You'd walk through our black light gallery of glowing paintings to get you excited to go into our theater."

And inside are comfortable chairs where you can kick back and relax.

Abrams Planetarium
Abrams Planetarium

"Once we turn those projectors on and use that planetarium system, we can transport people all over through photos," Schmoll said.

The planetarium is open to the public, and they do group showing during the week.

"So school field trips, senior centers often come, anyone who has a group that would like to book in advance can come during the week," Schmoll said.

And all the public shows are on the weekend.

"We do a feature show that sort of general audience. That's Friday, Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m., and a family show Sundays at 2:30 p.m that's geared towards younger kids," Schmoll said. "We also do a public lecture series throughout the the academic year, so October to April. Next one is next Thursday, we'll be talking about the Chaco Canyon archaeological site and how that is aligned with the sun's path."

And you can even have your kids join the young astronomers club the first Saturday of each month.

So go check out the plantarium and get your space on.

Click here for prices, memberships and more information.

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Meet Tianna Jenkins

Senior Multimedia Journalist