The Planetarium at The Children’s Museum closed in 2022.
Through August 2022, our planetarium had been a fixture of the West Hartford community for over 40 years. The Travelers Science Dome at the Gengras Planetarium was Connecticut’s largest museum planetarium and the only planetarium located in a Connecticut children’s museum. Immersive, full-dome, CGI digital planetarium shows provide the audience with a “you are there” experience unlike any other. Fly to Mars, experience a supernova, or travel to another solar system. The Travelers Science Dome at the Gengras Planetarium is the destination for unique, out-of-this-world education in Connecticut. Don’t forget to like Travelers ScienceDome Planetarium on Facebook!
Opened in 1968, the Gengras Planetarium was home to a Spitz Transit Projector, nicknamed “Stella”. The STP projector was, at the time, state-of-the-art equipment; capable of rotating on all 3 axes and projecting over 4,000 stars. Only 11 of these projectors were manufactured. Stella remained in operation until 2007. After being removed from the planetarium, Stella was sent to the Planetarium Projector Museum in Bear Lake, California. Upon arrival, Stella was restored by their staff and put on display for visitors to enjoy. Visit: http://planetariummuseum.com/STP.HTM to see photos of Stella’s restoration.
Pictured (above) is Stella, our old Spitz STP projector. Families enjoyed the beautiful starfield projected by Stella for four generations. Pictured (below) is the console used by the planetarium staff to control Stella and present programs.
In 2007, a major gift from Travelers Inc allowed for the purchase of a Spitz HB SciDome projection system. This upgrade to digital full-dome technology catapulted the planetarium into the 21st century. The SciDome projects a seamless digital image that covers the entire dome. Audiences can experience computer-animated, immersive movies, or a traditional live star show. In many cases, they get both!
From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet
The Children’s Museum was awarded a grant from NASA in 2009 for the Blue Planet
Red Planet Project. A portion of this funding was dedicated to helping the planetarium
acquire animation and video production software, as well as a small bank of rendering
computers. With this new equipment, the planetarium produced its own full-length
planetarium show entitled, From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet.
From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet debuted in the Travelers Science Dome at the Gengras Planetarium on June 21, 2014. This exciting show is available for nationwide distribution. Please contact Ian Robinson if you are interested in showing From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet in your planetarium!