Monday, May 10, 2010

Morehead Planetarium

On this date 61 years ago Morehead Planetarium, at the University of Chapel Hill, North Carolina campus, opened featuring the Copernican orreries.

The Morehead Planetarium, one of the largest in the U.S., was the gift of John Motley Morehead III (1870-1965), class of 1891. The Morehead Building, erected at the north end of the campus, included the 68-ft dome, 300-seat Star Theater with a Zeiss Model II Star Projector. Morehead was an industrialist and chemist who commercially developed production of calcium carbide, basic to manufacturing acetylene gas, which led to the founding of Union Carbide Corporation. As the U.S. space program began, the planetarium provided important celestial navigation training for U.S. astronauts in the Mercury program.

Morehead Planetarium [Wikipedia]

Morehead Planetarium [Home]

John Motley Morehead III [Wikipedia]

1 comment:

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center said...

Thanks for remembering our birthday!

The Copernican orrery is gone. Its mechanical workings completed their final orbit about 10 years ago. The orrery room now houses the "Zoom In" exhibit.

Our Zeiss Model VI star projector is still in the planetarium (and in use for some school field trip shows), but Morehead now uses a fulldome digital video projection system that is amazing.

We're still learning some new tricks at age 61!