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Emera Astronomy Center


Emera Inc., the parent company of Emera Maine, made a $1 million donation to help build the Emera Astronomy Center, located at the intersection of Rangeley and Long roads on the University of Maine campus in Orono.

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The Emera Astronomy Center, which houses the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory, opened in October 2014.

The center is heated with geothermal heat pumps, the first building at UMaine to benefit from this energy-efficient electric technology, and includes innovative exterior lighting designed to help preserve the dark sky critical to enhanced stargazing.

The 50-seat planetarium, the largest in the state, is equipped with a state-of-the-art Definiti projection system. The nearby observatory has a 20-inch digital PlaneWave CDK20 telescope and is the future home of the university’s historic Clark telescope.

The Emera Astronomy Center helps UMaine’s outreach to K-12 students in promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The planetarium and observatory complement other scientific efforts across a number of disciplines at the university.

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Photo caption - On July 30, 2013, area schoolchildren took part in a “beam-raising” celebration where they were able to sign a steel beam and then watch as it was hoisted into place at the Emera Astronomy Center.

At a groundbreaking ceremony in April 2013, Chris Huskilson, President and CEO of Emera Inc., said, "Emera is proud to invest in the communities where we live and work. We’re also working to make energy cleaner, so the center’s use of geothermal heat pumps is a great example of renewable energy use."

President Paul Ferguson, President of the University of Maine from 2011 to 2014, said, “This facility, with its focus on education and outreach, will be a landmark in Maine, and it would not have happened without Emera’s generous gift.”

The facility was designed by WBRC Architects – Engineers, with consultation from planetarium specialists Kasian Architecture, and built by Nickerson & O’Day, a Maine-based construction firm.

The Emera Astronomy Center and Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory host regular public programs for all ages and engage in partnerships for science lectures and activities. To see what’s happening at the center, visit astro.umaine.edu. You can also make a donation to help fund the center’s programming and keep its technology up to date.


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