Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018
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German astronomers visit Seminole State’s Planetarium

(L-R) Matthias Rode, Seminole State Planetarium Director Derek Demeter and Tilo Hohenschläger outside the Emil Buehler Perpetual Planetarium on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.

Seminole State’s Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium played host to a team of German planetarians who were the winners of the International Planetarium Society (IPS) “Week in the United States” professional development competition.

Matthias Rode and Tilo Hohenschläger, both planetarians for the Schulplanetarian in Bad Sooden-Allendorf, Germany, spent the week working with Seminole State Planetarium Director Derek Demeter.

“Seminole State College is one of two locations in the U.S. hosting this event,” said Demeter. “The visiting winners get to see firsthand how planetariums are run in the United States as opposed to those in Germany.”

During their visit they met with a group of students from a local summer camp and presented a tour of the solar system inside the planetarium and then took the students outside to enjoy some German-themed activities.

Matthias showed the kids how to build a sun dial and learn to tell time on a sun dial watch,” said Hohenschläger. “My activity involved using a yellow water ball to show children just how big the solar system is compared to a model and understand the distance to our Solar System.”

Rode and Hohenschläger also presented a public show at the planetarium and visited NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Rode said their visit was a great experience and one that will help them as they continue to survey the stars. “We will bring back a lot of inspiration and knowledge, new contacts and a new friend.”

The camaraderie between Rode, Hohenschläger, and Demeter will continue next year. The three will all be attending the 2018 International Planetarium Society Conference in Toulouse, France where they will do a presentation on their week spent together in Central Florida.

The IPS hopes that the “Week in the United States” will serve as a model for other countries to follow and, as the years pass, evolve into cultural and professional development exchange around the world.

Located on Seminole State’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida offers live, interactive shows and full-dome video presentations. For more information on the Buehler Planetarium and upcoming events, visit the planetarium website, like the planetarium on Facebook and follow it on Twitter and Instagram: @seminoleplanet.

About Seminole State College of Florida: Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded nearly 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter: @seminolestate.

Tilo Hohenschläger and Matthias Rode

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