The ECSU Planetarium, the only planetarium located in northeastern North Carolina from the state line to Rocky Mount, functions as an academic support unit to strengthen and enhance the University's community outreach efforts. First opened in January 1990, the Planetarium was charged with the mission of increasing public awareness in the sciences, specifically for students of the University's 21-county service region of northeastern North Carolina. Since its inception, the Planetarium has functioned as a community outreach program, encouraging elementary and secondary students to (1) develop and enhance their academic skills, and (2) cultivate the interest and awareness needed to ultimately pursue post-secondary education in the sciences.
The planetarium is housed within a 9.2 meter (30 feet) diameter, hemispherical dome with a seating capacity of 60. The instrument itself is a Spitz Model 512 star projector. The theater also includes computer automation, which integrates the operation of video projection, high-definition still image projection, special effects, and laser projection. The Planetarium offers programming for a wide range of age and education levels, from Pre-K through undergraduate, and the general public. All civic groups, churches, families, and clubs are welcomed to attend ECSU Planetarium programs, and special attention is given to programming for area school students of all ages. Programming offered to school groups address K-12 science competencies, and is geared toward supplementation of classroom activities. Faculty and staff of ECSU are regularly encouraged to utilize the Planetarium for course instruction and augmentation.
Following the University calendar and Inclement Weather Policy, ECSU Planetarium operates Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., year-round. Some limited evening and weekend hours are provided annually for special events for 4H, Boy Scouts, and feature presentations themed with annual celebrations such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Valentine's Day, African American History Month, and Women's History Month. All shows at the ECSU Planetarium are free of charge, however shows are conducted by reservation only. Groups of 20 or more may schedule their own show. Individuals or groups with less than 20 are encouraged to join other groups with prior reservations. For more information, visitors may call (252) 335-3SKY or visit the Planetarium's website at: http://www.ecsuplanetarium.org.