OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Science Museum Oklahoma (SMO) says an $8 million project is underway to bring a new planetarium and astronomy exhibits to the educational venue.

The new facility will be where the former ‘Omnidome’ currently sits unused and will replace the existing planetarium.

“Our goal – turning the universe into the world’s largest classroom. Students’ interest in space allows museum educators to use the planetarium as a fun and creative way to teach physics, chemistry, art, culture, math, history, geometry…there are no limits to what can be taught within this special place. The surrounding gallery will feature artifacts from the museum’s extensive collection highlighting Oklahoma’s rich history in space as well as other artifacts collected or on loan from our partners such as the Smithsonian and NASA…

Oklahomans take great pride in our rich history of space exploration. We are scientists and explorers by nature. It is fitting that we provide the next generation of Oklahomans with the inspiration they need to carry forward this rich tradition.”

Science Museum Oklahoma

SMO officials say the new planetarium will feature both an optical and digital projector – one of just a few in the world.

“The new system will create a realistic sky of 9,500 bright stars, 56 nebulae and clusters for binocular viewing, and approximately 8 million detailed stars to recreate the Milky Way, all with high intensity LEDs and fiber optics,” said Linda Maisch with SMO. “In addition, the equipment will project 88 constellations plus the Sun, Moon and planets.”

The new dome will present high resolution images and provide audiences with a realistic night sky free of light pollution – something Maisch says many people never experience outside a planetarium.

“The new theater will allow the planetarium to be used for innovative performances and offer more interactivity with space that can be used by musicians, featured presenters, early childhood programming, special events, etc.,” said Maisch.

The new planetarium and astronomy exhibits are expected to be completed in Fall 2023.

Fundraising for the One Giant Leap initiative is now underway and you can donate online.