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Children explore

Children and spectators take in a view of Earth’s surface from outer space inside the University of Minnesota Bell Museum’s Exploradome traveling planetarium Monday at Vogel Fieldhouse.

NEW ULM — Children counted down from five before blasting off into space and their perspective changed from the night sky to a view of Earth’s surface.

The University of Minnesota Bell Museum’s Exploradome traveling planetarium visited Vogel Fieldhouse Monday and offered free space exploration shows to children.

Inside the inflatable dome a projector emits Earth’s night sky, and even distant universes, onto the ceiling, providing an interactive and immersive experience for viewers.

Kaitlyn Ehrt, University of Minnesota Bell Museum’s planetarium outreach educator, said the Exploradome offers eight classes and programs with topics ranging from our solar system to possible life in the universe.

“This is a part of our attempts to bring space and astronomy education to a broader audience in a way that classroom teachers aren’t able to,” Ehrt said. “Having this for an astronomy teacher is not feasible. But having this going around the state is — at least for us.”

The Exploradome makes stops in cities and towns throughout Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin. The Exploradome is an educational extension of Bell Museum’s Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium located in St. Paul.

Ehrt said she hopes the Exploradome will get children thinking about the solar system and the universe.

“I can hope they gain a lot of things, but if I had to choose, I’d say I want them to at least come away with a bit of sense of awe,” she said. “Just the scale of everything and something they can go home and talk to their parents about.”

The Exploradome’s visit is brought in part by New Ulm Public Library and New Ulm Parks and Recreation.

For information about upcoming events hosted by the library, visit http://www.newulmlibrary.org.

Gage Cureton can be emailed a gcureton@nujournal.com.

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