New Earth & Space Planetarium in Tyler
East Texans don't have to drive to Houston to see a planetarium show any more. Tyler Junior College has completed a major expansion of its well known Hudnall Planetarium, which has allowed East Texans to get a glimpse of outer space for more than 40 years.
TJC has created a brand new space experience, with the grand opening of the Center for Earth and Space Science Education on Saturday. TJC officials say the center is designed to educate the public about astronomy and space exploration, and introduce a new generation to the thrills of outer space in an entertaining and informative way, just as its predecessor did.
The completed facility includes state-of-the art technology and is more than twice the size of the old one. A 40-foot-domed theater where all the shows will be presented is the centerpiece of the center.
The facility also includes a 1,600-square-foot exhibit area, a classroom and several outdoor learning stations.
Dr. Tom Hooten, the center's director, says other planetariums may have larger domes, but none has more sophisticated technology. Hooten says TJC's projection, sound and lighting systems are "top-of-the-line."
The theater will be similar to the familiar Burke-Baker Planetarium at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
It will have scheduled showings and online ticket sales. Weekday mornings and early afternoons will be reserved for schools, while late afternoons and evenings will be open to the general public.
The best part is that you don't have to drive to Houston.