Introducing the new Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium

Earlier in October, SUNY Buffalo State College hosted a ribbon cutting for the completion of the reconfiguration and renovations to two key academic spaces: the Academic Commons within E. H. Butler Library, and the Science and Mathematics Complex (SAMC).

Along with the spectacular renovations, and new facilities, the highly anticipated new Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium has opened to the public – a project that is key to supplementing a number of academic departments (sciences, dance, theater, art, music, technology, communication, history), as well as offering one of the most unique exploratory settings for birthday parties and other private events.

“I’m so excited the planetarium is opening,” said Kevin Williams, associate professor of earth sciences and planetarium director. “Classes and other groups on campus that have visited recently have been blown away by the visualizations and unique way of viewing the night sky and beyond in the immersive environment of the planetarium.”

The planetarium includes three state of the art projection systems that will specialize in different areas of study:

The digital planetarium projection allows for visitors to see the entire sky including planets. It gives the feeling of being taken right off of planet earth and transported anywhere in the solar system.
The traditional projection shows the stars and constellations the best.
The laser projection can be used for laser light shows or other special projects. 

Video projection with star projector

As for the planetarium’s accommodations, the 43 foot wide dome seats 48 people, where audience members are able to view the unobscured 360-degree environment.

To learn more about visiting this super unique celestial experience, visit Also learn more about the completion of phase 4 renovations of the entire Science and Math Complex where the planetarium is located.

The reconfigured Academic Commons—a $16 million reconstruction project begun in 2018

Photos courtesy SUNY Buffalo State College

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