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New planetarium at Cradle of Aviation

The Cradle of Aviation Museum at Mitchel Field is getting a new state-of-the-art digital projection system in its dome theater.

The JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium will open early next month in the Leroy R. and Rose W. Grumman Dome Theater and will give the museum its first planetarium projection capability. Currently, the dome is used only for projecting science films. The new equipment cost $800,000; JetBlue was the largest of several contributors, according to Cradle executive director Andrew Parton.

“JetBlue is committed to fostering education in the communities we serve through meaningful partnerships with organizations like the Cradle of Aviation Museum, right here in our own backyard,” Dave Barger, chief executive of JetBlue Airways, said in a statement. “The new planetarium gives visitors a front-row seat to wonders of our universe.”

Linda Armyn, who was elected this week as the chair of the museum board, called it “an exciting opportunity for us to continue to expand our educational programs here at the museum.”

The JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium will officially open Oct. 6 in conjunction with World Astronomy Day.

Later in the year the museum will launch a new component of the planetarium called Uniview, which will provide the museum with the capability to customize programs for different audiences. Uniview creates real-time and recorded programs utilizing databases from NASA and the European Space Agency with a statistical database of more than 2 billion stars developed by the American Museum of Natural History.

Above: Cradle of Aviation Museum

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