WILLIAMSTOWN — The Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, is one of those hidden gems we are continually digging up in the Berkshires, and its spring schedule of programming has begun.
Astronomy students at the college invites families to experience the wonders of our universe as they host free shows for the public on Friday evenings at 8 p.m. Shows will run weekly through May 12, with the exception of Spring Break March 17, 24, and March 31.
Audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B opto-mechanical planetarium projector, installed in April 2005. The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the Southern Hemisphere’s sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more.
Spring 2017 shows will be hosted by Williams College students Brett Bidstrup ’17,Rebecca Durst ’17, Glen Gallik ’18, and Diego Gonzalez ’18. Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, Jay Pasachoff, is Director of the Hopkins Observatory.
The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States.
Shows will last about 50 minutes. For reservations (required) contact Michele Rech at (413) 597-2188 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments.
The Hopkins Observatory is on a small hill on the south side of Main Street east of Spring Street in Williamstown and just east of Lawrence Hall Drive, on which planetarium patrons share parking with the Williams College Museum of Art. A campus map showing the Hopkins Observatory’s location can be found at williams.edu or at 829 Main Street, Williamstown in maps.google.com.