Children Explore Universe at RVCC Planetarium

Children throughout Somerset County were guided through the universe at “Out of This World” Family Fun Night March 26 in Raritan Valley Community College’s Planetarium.

EmPoWER Family Success Center (FSC) and the Astronomy Club hosted the event with help from the Bio/Chem Club.

Children saw two planetarium shows and engaged in activities where they detected constellations, sorted objects in the universe by size, built a model of the solar system using stickers and learned about ultraviolet light by creating “power rings.”


David Havs leading the solar system activity. Photo by Gia Noe.

Laura Nicholson, President of the Astronomy Club, said these activities are meant to encourage an interest in astronomy and reveal the magnitude of the universe.

The planetarium shows played were "Spring Skies,” a tour of the stars guided by Bill McClain, Planetarium Associate, and “Perfect Little Planet,” a short film following an alien family searching the solar system for a vacation spot. The family flies over ice cliffs on Miranda, rings around Saturn and lightning storms on Jupiter.

Marco, 12, and Kiley, 11, were enthusiastic about the event and said the solar system activity was their favorite part.

Pastor Tim Wolf, Director of EmPoWER FSC, said, “Everything EmPoWER does is to bring families together for activities, instead of parents and children having their own separate activities going on.”


EmPoWER volunteers. Photo by Gia Noe.

Nicholson said the most important component of this event was the volunteer work.

EmPoWER FSC is “a community gathering place that provides free family fun activities, workshops and connects families to local resources,” according to their website.

EmPower FSC holds at least one free Family Fun Night every month. A list of their activities can be found on their website.

Pictures of the event are on The Record's Facebook.

Contributing writer: Christian Rosario.

Featured image caption: Children engaging in activities in the planetarium. Photo by Gia Noe.

Morgan Stiles
Staff Writer / The Record
Morgan Stiles is a staff writer for The Record and plays for the women's soccer team. Her major is undecided but she plans on attending a four year college to earn a bachelor's degree. She graduated from Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, FL.