Reposted from Highlands Today online edition:
LAKE PLACID --
On Wednesday, the Lake Placid Elementary cafeteria had a temporary visitor: a 10.5- foot tall, 16-foot diameter inflatable planetarium called the Starlab.
The portable dome is manufactured by Science First.
Presenter Helmut Albrecht projected scenes of the night sky on the inner walls of the planetarium for groups of 25 to 35 children and adults, who sat in a circle along the inside perimeter. The event was part of the free summer reading program offered by the Lake Placid Memorial Library.
About 185 participants attended, said librarian Maria Chenique, including three public school daycare centers, educators, and local children and their families.
From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., the "Day and Night" program was shown for preschool children, including an IMAX-like scene of the sun rising, crossing the sky, and setting.
From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., school-aged children attended "Constellations," which delved into the Greek mythology of the constellation Orion and featured a "fly-by" of the moon.
From 3 to 3:45 p.m. teens attended a presentation on the Milky Way. An educator's seminar was held at 4 p.m.
The idea for the event belonged to Kathy Sorenson, who has been volunteering with the Lake Placid library children's program for the past four years.
"The turnout has been marvelous," said Sorenson, who had experienced a similar program in Colorado and personally contacted Albrecht and convinced him to come to Lake Placid. Science First is headquartered in the Jacksonville area.
"I liked when we saw the constellations," said 8-year-old Natalie Murphy, who attended with her mom. "I saw the crab."
Chenique expressed thanks to Lake Placid Elementary School for providing the venue, as the library did not have a room tall enough to accommodate the Starlab.
For more information on the library's summer programs for children and teens, visit www.myhlc.org.