Fairbanks Museum mobile planetarium brings the universe to you

THETFORD, Vt. (WCAX) Visiting the planetarium at St Johnsbury's Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium is the highlight of the trip for many. But, you no longer have to make the trek to the Northeast Kingdom to get that out-of-this-world experience.

When it comes to learning, the sky is the limit. But no one ever said the sky had to be outdoors.

"We could see the Earth from far away, said Connor Sansom, 7, who along with other kids and parents one by one stepped into a dome that almost feels like another world. "The ceiling of it looked like what you might actually see in the sky."

Thursday, the mobile planetarium made it's inaugural appearance at the Thetford Elementary School. It's the newest addition to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, teaching kids about the stars, moon, planets and much more.

"The hope is to entice more people to come see our planetarium after they get a taste of what it could be like," said the museum's Bobby Farlice-Rubio.

Before the kids arrived, the dome came to life, similar to how a hot air balloon takes shape. All summer long it will be blowing up in towns across the region. Thetford's Latham Public library sponsored the event as part of it's "The Universe of Stories" summer program.

"You know, provide educational but also fun events for the kids over the summer," said the library's Emily Zollo.

"And of course it's also the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing, so this is a time when people are really thinking about space again," Farlice-Rubio said. And what better way to learn, than to go there.

"I do want to go to another planet," said Ben Barton, 8.
After the hour-long program is complete, the kids come back to earth. "You got to see different planets, you got to know a bunch of stuff. And you could ask questions and tell what you wanted to know."

The mobile planetarium, with funding from The Passumpsic Bank, made the mobile planetarium a reality. It's already booked through the summer, travelling to communities in both Vermont and New Hampshire. But after that, anyone who wants the sky to come to their town can contact the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium.