Among Rochester’s many treasures sits a true gem: the Rochester Museum & Science Center’s Strasenburgh Planetarium, which has delighted generations of visitors with star shows, films, educational programs and laser shows, as well as special events.
A four-story dome houses the planetarium, which aptly echoes the shape of a spiral galaxy. The Rochester-based firm of Waasdorp, Northrup, and Kaelber Architects designed the initial floor plan, and the planetarium officially opened in 1968. Named for patrons Edwin and Clara Strasenburgh, the planetarium offers free rooftop telescope viewing throughout the year. The planetarium also is a source of education when compelling astronomy events occur, such as eclipses.
RMSC and the planetarium feature works of art and various exhibits as well. Outside, a sculpture by Francesco Somaini of Lake Como, Italy, was commissioned specifically for the planetarium. Emil Muller, who served as chairman of the building committee and as a member of RMSC’s board of trustees, donated the funds for the sculpture. Located on the East Avenue side, it was installed upon the building’s completion and dedicated during the planetarium’s second anniversary.