The Springfield Science Museum's Seymour Planetarium


The Korkosz Starball. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Science Museum.

For over seventy years, the Springfield Science Musem's Seymour planetarium has been educating people about the night sky. The projector at the center of the planetarium was designed and built by brothers Frank and John Korkosz of Chicopee, MA during the 1930's. At the time, only a few major cities in the United States had planetarium projectors, and those were German-built Zeiss projectors. The Korkosz Starball, as Springfield's projector is called, is today the oldest opereating American-built planetarium projector in the world.

The Korkosz Starball was also the first American-built planetarium projector to use optical projection (the Rosicrucians of San Jose, CA built the first American projector, but it used pinhole projection). The planetarium was named after Stephen Seymour, a major donator, and opened to the public for the first time on October 20, 1937. During World War II, Frank Korkosz used the planetarium to train pilots stationed at Westover Air Force Base in celestial navigation. Today, the Seymour Planetarium is used to teach astronomy to visiting school groups, as well as the general public. It is also used during the monthly "Stars Over Springfield" public astronomy programs.


A group of schoolchildren visit the Seymour Planetarium during its early years of operation. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Science Museum.

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