Stargazing returns to Roddenberry Planetarium at El Paso ISD


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso’s “hike” to the stars was reignited earlier this week with the inaugural show at the new Gene Roddenberry Planetarium in northeast El Paso.

The planetarium kicked off its ‘next generation’ show on Wednesday, continuing the journey of the original 52-year-old dome with new high-tech features and updated lineup.

Sixth grade students at Don Haskins PK-8 School were the first students to see the new planetarium, which now resides in the former Crosby Elementary Multi-Purpose Center in northeast El Paso.

The new location replaces the original planetarium, inside the EPISD Education Center on Boeing Drive, which was built in 1969.

Almost as enthusiastic as the students, educator and director of special projects Tim Holt, who organized the planetarium’s first lesson.

“This is the best classroom in the district… the planetarium is an informal science venue that moves away from the traditional classroom. The closest is in Alamogordo. Children would actually have to travel out of town for the same experience.

Tim Holt, Director of Special Projects

Haskins sixth grade students who visited this week got a glimpse of the night sky and an astronomy lesson in a realistic replica of the El Paso sky projected onto the dome at 360 degrees.

The program ended with a video on telescopes, their origins and their importance in the discovery of planets.

Sixth-grader Santiago Torres said it was an experience, saying he especially enjoyed the star chat portion of the program.

“I really liked the stars and watching the planet, and when he was telling the story of Pegasus,” Santiago said. “It’s really cool. The chairs were comfortable too.

For sixth-grader Davna Rosenfield, the stars and the dome planet were also the most awe-inspiring.

“I thought it was so cool. Especially the roof. I loved the way it showed the stars and planets.

Davna added that she remembered her previous trips to the original planetarium when she was younger, but found the visit a lot more fun.

“I think we are lucky to come here,” she said. “I thought it was cool to learn more about the constellations and see how the telescope works. I really liked it. I had fun.”

EPISD officials say the new planetarium, which was partially funded by a block grant for community development from the city of El Paso, will return in the not too distant future to offer public performances and excursions to the city of El Paso. land for other school districts.

Photo by Martín A. López – El Paso ISD

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Arline J. Mercier

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