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Intersection: Stargazing Indoors At The Emil Buehler Planetarium

Derek Demeter and the star projector. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Derek Demeter and the star projector. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

If you want to get a good look at the night sky in Florida, there are a few places to go.  But in Central Florida, the best view of stars might just be indoors: the Emil Buehler planetarium at Seminole State college in Sanford.

The planetarium has a domed ceiling which serves as a backdrop for the stars- beamed out by the star projector in the middle of the room.

"In a way we're kind of in a virtual reality space," says planetarium director Derek Demeter.

"We start off the show simulating light pollution, so when they come into the planetarium and they can see the stars, they can't see a lot."

As the show goes on, Demeter says the lights are dimmed bit by bit.

"Every time we do that, people are just awed and amazed by how many stars they can see."

"You definitely feel like you are controlling the universe with all these dials," says Demeter.

If you want to see stars in Florida though, there are a couple places you can go.

"There is a new dark sky park in Florida called Kissimmee Prairie Preserve," says planetarium director Derek Demeter, who says the park is located in the Kissimmee River Basin near Lake Okeechobee.

"It's a great place, you can see the Milky Way, it's really dark."

To get a really good view of the night sky without light pollution though, Demeter says you have to head to the Panhandle, or the Dry Tortugas National Park, 80 miles west of Key West.

Shows at the planetarium run Friday and Saturday nights.