Dr. Bradstreet Pioneers New Astronomy Curriculum


Dr. David Bradstreet, the chair of the Astronomy and Physics Department at Eastern, has completed the new curriculum for the Spitz SciDome located in the Julia Fowler Planetarium. Spitz Fulldome Curriculum Volume 2 was made available to over one hundred planetariums across the globe, as far as Turkey, in August 2013. Dr. Bradstreet developed this curriculum, with Steve Sanders providing video graphics and animations, over a three and half year period. Bradstreet describes the curriculum as a “hodgepodge of interesting astronomical things.” Volume 2 picks up where the first volume left off, exploring more “exotic” astronomy, such as additional lessons on eclipses and further exploration of the Milky Way.

The curriculum includes historical lessons, such as examining the skies during Paul Revere’s ride and Abraham Lincoln’s 1857 “almanac trial.”

Dr. Bradstreet states that this particular astronomical history lesson is his favorite, in which Lincoln successfully defended Duff Armstrong, who was charged with murder, by analyzing the phase of the moon during the time of the murder.

Every location with a Sci-Dome planetarium, which costs upwards of $200,000, receives Bradstreet’s curriculum and the memory key with the software installed for free. The curriculum has numerous lesson plans and suggestions for activities, but the script of Spitz Fulldome Vol. 2 also teaches the instructor, in detail, how to operate and use the planetarium. When asked about the impact of the new curriculum for the Sci-Dome on Eastern University and the Greater Philadelphia Area, Bradstreet states, “Isn’t it cool to belong to a school that is spear-heading astronomy education? We’re [Eastern University] leading the way in astronomy education and planetariums!” Bradstreet went on to discuss the impact of the Julia Fowler Planetarium, sharing that the Christmas Show, which is open to the entire county, has been sold out every year. The fall semester gets even crazier, as visits for to the planetarium are completely booked.


Sources:  eastern.edu, www.spitzinc.com

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