Portable Planetarium Launch

Posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Written by Kylie Riches

Orbax and Dr. O'Meara in front of inflatable black planetarium on turf field.

Royal City Science and the Department of Physics at U of G have become the proud new owners of a portable planetarium with the help of a grant from the Canadian Space Agency and a donation from an emeritus professor in Physics.

The planetarium is owned by both Royal City Science and the Dept of Physics. Students, staff, and volunteers from the Department of Physics will be trained on how to use the planetarium and will take it into the community as a group effort alongside RCS to bring the wonder of the cosmos to the public. Per his family’s request, the donation that helped make this possible in memory of Jim Stevens was specifically targeted to enhancing the department’s community outreach efforts.

During his career, Jim was involved with the Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers, was part of the group that started the Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair back in 1974 and served as the Chair of the Canada Wide Science Fair when it was held in Guelph in 1994.  As the son of two teachers, Jim was a champion of education at all levels, and it is thrilling to have this amazing tool to bring the cosmos to classrooms across the region in Jim’s name.

On December 4th, 2023, Physics Production Specialist Orbax and physics professor Dr. Joanne O’Meara attended the launch of the planetarium in the University of Guelph’s Field House.

When asked how this new planetarium will help the Physics department with outreach, Dr. O’Meara stated that “It's going to be so exciting. We can take this to schools, we can take this to public events. We can set it up in the school’s gymnasium's and have a whole bunch of classes come through. It's just so exciting to be able to have a class of kids sit on the floor and then look up and just be memorized".

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