Opportunities To See the Sky Continue To Grow At Science Hall

Astronomy is alive year round at Rowan University, thanks to the efforts of Amy Barraclough, director of the Ric and Jean Edelman Planetarium and Adjunct Professor Lloyd Black. Black and Barraclough lead programs that bring the Rowan and Glassboro communities to Science Hall to view the sun and the stars and watch shows that teach us about the world around us.

Black has been leading Astronomy Open Houses for three years and they have grown in size with each year. In total over 800 people of all ages attended 10 events during the 2016-17 academic year. Attendees observed the night sky and the sun during seven observing Open Houses, Homecoming, the Philadelphia Science Festival events.

“For me, I am most pleased about the success of our winter (February) Open House,” remarked Black. “I started this three years ago, and this past February's Open House was the most successful yet. This demonstrates that if you have clear skies, the public will come out even in winter to look through telescopes at the night sky.”

The planetarium had over 15,000 people attend shows throughout the 2016-17 academic year, which was the second highest attendance since the planetarium opened. Over 8,000 of them were students. . In 2017, the planetarium had 241 school field trips with 10,251 people attending including students, chaperones, and teachers. Outreach events included International Observe the Moon Night and Asteroid Day.

Barraclough took over as director of the planetarium a year ago and has made great strides in expanding the planetarium’s reach. She leverages the astronomy Open Houses to promote the planetarium and it has paid off with increased attendance. Barraclough has also given the planetarium a larger social media presence.

“The more people that attend the Open Houses, the more people hear about the planetarium through word of mouth,” said Barraclough. “Our new social media presence and updated website also play a major role in the increased attendance. People are able to get more information about the planetarium and observatory in an instant.”

Astronomy on campus is alive and opportunities to view the night sky and the sun continue to grow. During this semester, the Planetarium had added laser shows and additional Open House each month with the potential of eight in the fall and eight in the spring. A schedule of planetarium events and Open House dates can be found at the website: