The Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE) Planetarium has undergone a major expansion and renovation of its facilities on the main campus of Tyler Junior College (TJC).
Originally opened in 1963 as the Hudnall Planetarium, the planetarium was named in honor of Jimmy Hudnall who made numerous and sizeable contributions to its development. The planetarium featured a 30-foot diameter dome for sky projections.
|The new Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE) Planetarium on the campus of Tyler Junior College in Tyler
(TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
The new CESSE planetarium, opened in September of 2011, retains the trademark Georgian Colonial red brick architecture used in other TJC buildings.
The facility features a state-of-the-art high-resolution digital projection system, a new 40-foot diameter theater, new exhibit space, additional classroom and instructional space, and outdoor educational plazas.
The new theater is equipped with Digistar 4, the latest in digital projection technology. TJC is one of only two facilities in Texas to utilize this new system – and one of only 50 worldwide. Similar to IMAX, the Digistar 4 offers giant-screen transfer capabilities that can present not only astronomy and other science-based programming but also expansion into geography and history.
Digistar 4 is the world's best-selling and most advanced fulldome digital theater system. With Digistar the emphasis is not on the technology but on flexible storytelling tools to customize presentations to any audience. Digistar 4 contains the known universe in three-dimensional real time computer graphics.
The opening 23-minute show at the planetarium is "Cosmic Collisions," produced by New York City's Hayden Planetarium and features simulations and visualizations produced by NASA scientists and astrophysicists. Also being featured for the opening is the exciting exhibit "Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids and Meteors". Various shows will be presented, and are listed on the CESSE website with dates and times.
On September 20, 2014, a new exhibit opened at the planetarium: "When the Earth Shakes". It includes videos, interactive features and movement! It continues at CSSE until the Fall of 2015.
Featuring exhitibits such as "Great Balls of Fire", shows like "Cosmic Collisions", and the 1,500 pound Brenham meteorite, the largest pallasite ever recovered in the United States, the CESSE is a "don't miss" Tyler attraction.
|Jenkins Hall at Tyler Junior College
(TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
Each year the planetarium serves between 15,000 and 20,000 school children, college students, and East Texas adults.
Established in 1926 as part of the Tyler Public School System, Tyler Junior College (TJC) provides to area residents an opportunity for higher education in a local environment.
The College now has an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students each Fall semester. In addition, about 15,000 persons enroll in TJC continuing education courses each year. The campus has expanded over the years and includes a number of highly respected venues, including the the Tyler Museum of Art, CESSE, and others. Read more on the TJC website
Learn more about the Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE) Planetarium on the TJC website
The Hudnall Planetarium, Tyler Junior College Campus, Tyler Texas
now replaced by the new
Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE) Planetarium (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)