January 26, 2018

FMU’s Dooley Planetarium celebrates 40 years Sunday

FMU’s Dooley Planetarium celebrates 40 years Sunday

When Francis Marion University’s Dooley Planetarium opened 40 years ago, the Pee Dee region was presented with a distinctive new venue for education and, yes, entertainment.

The planetarium will honor its unique lineage, and its namesake, former FMU Professor Ed Dooley, as it celebrates its 40th anniversary on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. Doors will open after 2 p.m. for visitors to arrive early and explore the planetarium. There is no admission fee for this event, but seating is first come first served.

The Dooley Planetarium is one of only five planetariums in the state and the only in the northeast region of South Carolina.

The Dooley Planetarium held its first showing on Jan. 29, 1978 and since then has welcomed thousands of visitors through its doors. The facility is also used for regular FMU Astronomy classes.

Dooley was renovated in 2014 and 2016, introducing new seating, flooring, a new sound system and a fully-digital star projector. The new system allows Dr. Jeannette Myers and other presenters to customize programs, choose from hundreds of programming options that include enhanced presentational experiences, and even to change program mid-show when questions arise.

Technology has changed and improved, but a constant at the planetarium has been the drive of its personnel to provide the region with a meaningful experience that expands public knowledge of the mysteries of the universe.