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Neag Planetarium to Present Shows Online During COVID-19 Shutdown

by Reading Public Museum

Apr 14, 2020
The Neag Planetarium

Museum continues providing science education to community

Reading, PA — The Neag Planetarium at the Reading Public Museum will begin presenting educational and entertaining science shows online beginning this Wednesday, April 15. The shows, typically shown in a unique, 4KHD full-Scidome format in the Neag Planetarium, will be run in a flatscreen version via The Museum’s website as part of a partnership with Spitz, Inc. which produced the content for planetariums. These movies will remain available for a week, and can be utilized by educators looking to provide content to their students, as well as families looking for unique programming as they remain in their homes.

“’Way-Out Wednesdays’ will become the newest STEM-education offering made available to the public at no charge during the COVID-19 pandemic” stated John Graydon Smith, Director and CEO of the Reading Public Museum. “As the leading science center and planetarium between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, we want to continue to educate and enlighten students as we’ve done for decades, despite the restrictions created by this pandemic.”

The first “Way-Out Wednesday” presentation will feature two movies, one for pre-K audiences and one for older children and adults. The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather is a 23-minute movie featuring the adventures of a loveable gang of aliens known as The Zula Patrol, as seen on PBS stations nationwide. Under the Weather has our heroes battling villain Dark Truder as they explore the galaxy learning about weather, both terrestrial and interplanetary. The second feature will be Faster Than Light, a 25-minute documentary exploring the longstanding quest to develop spacecraft with enough power and speed to make star exploration possible. Supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Film Office, Faster Than Light takes audiences on a thrilling journey into the future, aboard laser-driven space sails, antimatter engines, and even warp drive, and will thrill audiences of all ages. These programs at the Neag Planetarium are typically sponsored by Penn State Health and Highmark, and will be available for viewing in their fulldome format once The Museum and Planetarium reopen.

The Neag Planetarium’s Mark Mazurkiewicz noted, “This first release of shows is just the start of the online programming we hope to make publicly available. ‘Way-Out Wednesday’ is expected to last as long as the shutdown is mandated and we have Earth Day programming queued up for next week, and even more on the horizon, so students, teachers, and families can get a taste of what the Neag Planetarium has to offer!”

To access the free movies, as well as study guides and other materials related to the programs, visit The Museum’s website at and click on the “Planetarium” link at the top of the page to be directed to hotlinks for each show. Future shows will be posted each week on Wednesdays, until the Neag Planetarium reopens, at which point the public show schedule will be made available.

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