Astronomy Rock Star Dr. David Bradstreet is Today’s Honoree

DrBradDr. David Bradstreet is the Director of Physical Science and the Planetarium and Observatory at Eastern University. He is a “rock star” in  the field of astronomy education and the go-to guy for educators with his  incredible teaching tools for the Planetarium, his programs that teach  binary stars (his major expertise), and giving tours/lessons to thousands  of school children in our area just west of Phila. PA.

“Astronomy is probably the most popular of the sciences and also the least taught in schools,” Dr. Bradstreet said.  “I’m trying to change that. I see astronomy as a much more fundamental science through which many of the other sciences can be taught.  After learning about astronomy, students and the community alike often say, ‘I had no idea how fantastic the universe really is’. Their understanding of God is profoundly influenced when they better understand the universe that He has made and sustains. Astronomy education is critical.”

Julia Fowler Planetarium

Throughout the year the Planetarium serves thousands of Pre-K through college students. The planetarium is open to the public three times a year for special presentations including the perennial favorite The Star of Bethlehem show in December. Original Fulldome Curriculum is being developed by Dr. David H. Bradstreet for Spitz, Inc., which will be used worldwide at other SciDome planetariums.

Most of our public offerings include a 25-minute presentation on the Sky Tonight. The remaining 25 minutes of the public shows feature an IMAX-like fulldome video.

The shows previously offered include Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity, The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather and Astronaut. Shows to be presented in the 2009-2010 season will include Stars and The Star of Bethlehem.

Planetarium Equipment

The Julia Fowler Planetarium is a digital projector and computer called the SciDome from Spitz, Inc. and uses a fisheye lens to project an assortment of celestial events on the dome. SciDome uses Starry Night as the main engine that creates the star field, and in conjunction with a program called ATM4, users are able to automate planetarium shows.

The biggest difference in terms of education comes with the Starry Night star field engine. Instead of having static two-dimensional star fields, we can show you a three-dimensional universe. Instead of looking at the planet Mars, we now can fly there, land on the surface, and experience what life might be like on the red planet. We can fly out of the solar system or even out of the Milky Way galaxy on a space cruise and start to get a feel for how awesome the universe truly is.

Visit Dr. David Bradstreet for more information.

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