If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with the stars, look no further than Loras College. One group of students are putting their time and efforts into renovating the Heitkamp Planetarium located on the Loras College campus.
The planetarium was built in 1964 and has the original equipment, which is still in use. Heitkamp Planetarium is the only functioning planetarium for over 100 miles, so there are high hopes that it will be renovated, in order to continue being utilized by the Dubuque community.
Despite the planetarium’s old age it still hosts different presentations throughout the year.
According to Audrey Miller, who is in charge of the project aiming to restore the planetarium, each month has a different show—the shows vary from ones about the Northern Lights all the way to a Christmas Show about the Northern Star.
One of the major goals of the restoration project is to encourage other Loras students to utilize the on-campus planetarium more frequently, they’re hoping that the more students that use the planetarium, the more money they will be able to raise to renovate and restore it.
“Parts of the stars on the dome don’t show up, because some of the lights are burned out and we can’t new bulbs to replace them.” Said Audrey Miller, with the machine being so old the only option to really fix it is to replace the projector altogether.
The students are writing grants, hosting fundraising and starting a GoFundMe page in hopes of getting that new projector.
For more information on Heitkamp visit : http://www.loras.edu/about/planetarium/