‘Portable Planetarium’ brings planets, stars to Madison classroom

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Madison, Ala. (WHNT)-- Madison Elementary students are getting an out-of-this-world lesson on the cosmos without even leaving the comfort of their school.

With a recent widely-seen fireball in the sky over the Tennessee Valley Tuesday night, the portable planetarium setup at the school is a perfect fit.

Woodmen of the World loaned their Star Lab/Planetarium for the school's official observance of Space Week.

James Brelsford is a volunteer astronomy educator from the Von Braun Astronomical Society (VABS) and said "he's been excited since [he] was in sixth grade and [he] likes sharing that passion with [the students]."

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade have been rotating in all week to view the different presentations.

The way the planetarium works is the students have to crawl inside where it is totally dark-- and a projector and a few lights make up the planets, stars, and other shadows the students learn about.

"Inside, we're able to project the stars, moon, and the planets. So instead of the students having to go to our planetarium up on Monte Sano, I can actually bring it to the classroom," said Brelsford.

Brelsford's display will be at Madison Elementary  through the end of this week.

This Saturday, you and your family have an opportunity to see a presentation from James Brelsford on the Aurora Borealis--more commonly called "the Northern Lights." You'll see pictures of the atmospheric phenomena from a recent trip he made to Fairbanks, Alaska. This event will be held at the Von Braun Astronomical Society Planetarium on Monte Sano at 7:30 p.m.