• Students at Gouge Elementary wait to go inside the StarLab portable planetarium. (Photo submitted)
    Students at Gouge Elementary wait to go inside the StarLab portable planetarium. (Photo submitted)

Reaching for the stars

Grant brings StarLab to Mitchell Co.

SPRUCE PINE – Local students got a chance to explore the universe recently without ever leaving Mitchell County.

The StarLab portable planetarium was provided through a grant to the AMY Regional Library. It was taken to Gouge Elementary Thursday, Jan. 3, and then was back at Spruce Pine Library this past week for field trips for Head Start, homeschooled and Spruce Pine Montessori students.

The StarLab planetarium elevates lessons in astronomy, history, earth sciences, mythology and biology using a fish-eye lens that uses the ceiling of the dome-shaped inflatable structure to show videos, movies and other projections.  

“The State Library of North Carolina, in conjunction with the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ statewide celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing in July 2019 and to help gear up for summer reading at the public libraries, purchased four Starlabs,” said Amber Westall Briggs, director of the AMY Regional Library System. “Portable planetariums were available this year to public library systems on a grant basis. We are one of the first public libraries to have the portable planetarium on loan from the state library.”  

The StarLab moved to Avery County this past Friday and then goes to Yancey County.  

Every class except fifth grade experienced StarLab at Gouge. 

“The students asked great questions and were excellent participants in the dome,” Briggs said. “I am especially grateful to the State Library for offering this portable planetarium for the students of our community.”

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616