Discover what’s new in the universe from the people making it happen!

Join a local astronomy expert in the Alden Planetarium and dive into the latest discoveries in the grandest science of all. Every month, a researcher from the Worcester area will come to the EcoTarium to discuss their work - everything from Martian water to astrophotography and from community science to space telescopes. Come back each month to learn more about our cosmic hometown!

Tickets & Important Information

  • Time: Second Friday of every month, 5:00 pm.
  • Duration: Approximately 30 minutes.
  • Cost: $6 for members, $7 for non-members (per person). General museum admission will not be charged for members or guests arriving after 4:30 pm on Speaker Series days.
  • Location: Alden Planetarium.
  • Age Range: Guests of all ages and backgrounds are welcome!
  • Cancellation Policy: Tickets are non-refundable unless the event is canceled by the EcoTarium.
  • COVID-19 Policy: All guests ages 2 and older are recommended to wear a mask inside the Planetarium. The EcoTarium will provide masks for all space travelers at the entrance to the Planetarium.

Schedule More speakers to come!

Window to the Universe: Springfield’s Historic Public Telescope

Over the past half-century, thousands of visitors to the Springfield Science Museum have explored the wonders of the universe from an observatory perched atop the museum’s roof. This observatory houses a 20-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that was designed and built by members of an amateur astronomical society called the Springfield STARS.

Richard Sanderson will take us back to the birth of the 20-inch telescope project during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which was a time of burgeoning interest in amateur telescope making. You’ll see pictures of the founding members of the STARS Club hard at work in their basement optical shop. Sanderson will describe the instrument’s intimate link to the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California, which was the largest in the world, and explain why the project didn’t cross the finish line until 1972. He will conclude with a discussion about some current upgrades and renovations to this historic telescope, which will enable it to continue educating visitors and inspiring children far into the future.

As Curator of Physical Science, Richard Sanderson managed the Springfield Science Museum’s observatory and planetarium for two decades, until his retirement in 2017. He currently holds the title of Adjunct Curator. He is also president of the Springfield STARS Club. Sanderson has written hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles about astronomy and is coauthor of the 2006 book, “Illustrated Timeline of the Universe.” Asteroid 6893 Sanderson was officially named in his honor.

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