Research Astronomers and Planetarians: Complementary Communities

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Session 43 -- Planetariums
Oral presentation, 8:30am - 12:30pm, June 14, 1995, 9:20am - 6:30pm

[43.01] Research Astronomers and Planetarians: Complementary Communities

D.W.Smith (Bowling Green State U)

The typical planetarian is an enthusiastic, creative, well-informed science educator whose planetarium is in a school system, a college/ university, or a museum/science center. Many run public shows and nearly all serve school classes, so they are in the forefront of communicating astronomy to the current public and to the next generation. Yet they are relatively invisible to many research astronomers, perhaps because most planetarians work alone with very limited budgets, and large, well-staffed planetariums are less common. o American planetariums are organized into seven regional associations, which in turn have recently organized a National Planetarium Council. Planetariums worldwide associate in the International Planetarium Society. Closer ties with the research community would be mutually beneficial. o The professional societies can help arrange means of cooperation. Smaller as well as larger facilities should be included. The research community can supply speakers and access to visual materials to planetarians, can promote the teaching of astronomy in schools, and offer summer institutes. The planetarium community can serve as educational collaborators on grants, conduct educational workshops at conferences, and carry astronomy to the public. Individual researchers could develop ties with local planetarians; small regional meetings could help facilitate this process.

8:30a program listing