Planetarium History

New Planetarium to Serve Many Functions

The three-phase program of RCC's new planetarium formally begins with
an open House on Oct. 12, 1968. StarMachine.jpgA first for Riverside County, the planetarium continues RCC's policy of coupling academic instruction with community service.

The facility, operated by Robert Dixon, planetarium director and assistant professor of astronomy, includes a 24-foot domed ceiling housed in a building adjacent to the library.

A Spitz planetarium projector, Model A-4, with remote controls, special effects projectors and sound system complete the 
equipment of the circular lecture room.

According to Dixon, the planetarium projector makes it possible to create the Riverside night sky for any time of year while controlling the weather and the motion of the sky.

One advantage of this control, Dixon said, is the ability to project different parts of the sky. A special feature of the facility is the planned geology and astronomy museum in the entrance hall of the planetarium. An inter-departmental project, the museum and planetarium is available to students in physical science and geology classes for instructional purposes as well as those enrolled in astronomy.

The instructional program is geared to the liberal arts student and does not require backgrounds in mathematics or science generally expected of students in programs of this type.

Community involvement is encouraged by the public lecture series, the first three of which promotes general orientation to the planetarium. In February the public is invited to participate in a more detailed study of the sky.

These lectures are spaced from four to six weeks apart. Specific dates for the lectures will be announced later in the fall. A third 
phase of the program, slated to begin next September, avails the facility to schools of the Riverside Unified School District.


A. C. Knopf, Patience Sparks, Editors

PLANETARY PROJECTOR — The Model A-4 Spitz planetary projector
creates night sky on a domed ceiling. Equipped with planetary analogs,
the instrument allows for the manipulation of planets in their course around
the sun.—RCC student photo by John Kleinman.