SRNS Support Helps New USC Aiken Planetarium Show Shine

Story courtesy of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions

Aiken, SC (08/31/2018) — There are approximately one billion trillion stars in the known universe, but only one that has supported life on Earth for millennia, the sun. With a diameter 100 times the size of the Earth and a surface temperature of 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, this star amazes those who investigate its properties.

Located on the University of South Carolina Aiken campus, a new Ruth Patrick Science Education Center planetarium show, Sunstruck, has made the study of the sun easy and visually captivating.

Purchased by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) for $10,000, Sunstruck reveals the wonders of our sun and its incredible energy that is now threatening several forms of our electronic technology and, in time, the way we live on this planet. Through this astrological adventure, visitors travel to the distant future to discover our sun's connection to the universe's cosmic cycle of life.

"It is fitting that Savannah River Nuclear Solutions sponsored this particular show," said Dr. Gary Senn, director of the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center.

"The sun operates with nuclear energy, and SRNS operates nuclear facilities at the Savannah River Site. We extend a special thank you to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions for helping us inspire others to explore the majesty of the heavens."

More than 20 years after the USC Aiken planetarium first opened, it now boasts expanded seating and a state-of-the-art Digistar 6 planetarium projection system. The Digistar 6 system enables guests to enjoy full-color video that surrounds them in the domed facility.

"SRNS recognizes the value offered to our community through the Ruth Patrick Science Center's strong emphasis on STEM-related education opportunities," said Wallis Spangler, SRNS senior vice president. "A STEM-based education is fundamental to nearly every occupation found at the Savannah River Site. So, we are pleased to continue our long-term partnership with our friends at USCA."

Since its inception, the RPSEC has had more than 1.6 million program visits. This past year, the RPSEC offered more than 1,800 STEM-focused programs resulting in almost 83,000 program visits by students, teachers, parents and the public.

New shows which highlight the capabilities of the Digistar 6 system include: Magic Tree House: Space Mission; Seven Wonders; and Digistar 6 Special Effects Extravaganza.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a Fluor-led company with Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell, is responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site, including the Savannah River National Laboratory, located near Aiken, South Carolina.

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Rpsc sunstruck photo

Wallis Spangler, SRNS senior vice president, (left) experiences first-hand the impact of the new Sunstruck planetarium show now featured at the Ruth Patrick Science Center (RPSEC) located on the University of South Carolina Aiken campus as Dr. Gary Senn, director, RPSEC, provides the demonstration.