Students in Orange County school districts who experience the planetarium will be given the chance to experience core STEM concepts through exhibits that are engaging and fun. College courses will be offered to students by OCC faculty, and members of the community will have the opportunity to attend shows, lectures and exhibits throughout the year.
The Planetarium will have unique features to serve all of its travelers:
- State-of-the-art theatre and presentation room
- Foucault Pendulum exhibit
- Interactive science exhibit hall
- Science on a Sphere NOAA display globe
- The latest technology and telescopes for optimum learning
- Theatre-style seating for 125
- Administrative offices
- Ticket Office
Named for French physicist Leon Foucault, this device serves as a visual demonstration of the rotation of the earth. Designs vary, but the concept is deceptively simple: a pendulum, powered by an electromagnet, swings from a steel cable, knocking down a row of pegs below it. Although the direction of the pendulum appears to be changing, it is in fact the floor beneath the pendulum that moves.
With only a handful of Foucault Pendulums located in the state, OCC’s pendulum exhibit will be the first of its kind in Orange County, giving local students and the surrounding community a chance to experience firsthand one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in modern history.
Science on a Sphere
Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed Science on a Sphere as an educational tool to help people of all ages visualize the earth. Using computers and video projectors, animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change and ocean temperature can be shown on this giant globe, making complex environmental processes an interactive and captivating experience.
OCC’s Science on a Sphere will reside in the Planetarium’s lobby/ exhibit hall, giving visitors an astronaut’s-eye-view of the earth as it changes minute to minute.
OCC Astronomy Village / Telescope Farm
Base 11, an organization dedicated to propelling community college students in STEM careers by investing in new and disruptive innovation, has provided a grant of $1 million to enhance the area adjacent to the Planetarium. The grant will fund a telescope farm featuring solar and celestial telescopes that can be used by students and visitors to the planetarium. Additionally, the grant will fund a study and meeting place for OCC astronomy students and visiting scientists.
Groundbreaking: Summer 2016
Estimated Completion: Summer 2018
Estimated Cost: $20 million
The Planetarium will be located on the Orange Coast College campus, adjacent to the Charles H. Lewis Center and the Allied Health, Biology and Consumer Health Complex, and positioned in the center of OCC’s Science Quad.