Trustees Approve New Observatory and Planetarium for University of Maine 

University of Maine System trustees have approved a proposal to construct a new planetarium and observatory at the Orono campus.Trustees met Monday in downtown Bangor.Jeff Hecker, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says there are about four hundred students who take astronomy courses every year.He believes the new observatory and planetarium would enhance the school’s programs and also provide research opportunities.The university’s current observatory was built in 1900, while the planetarium dates back to 1954.”It’s long overdue to move up with newer technologies. Our observatory actually dates back to 1901 and so we’re long overdue for an observatory. What we envision is building a complex where these two facilities will be co-located,” he said.The project will cost about 5.2 million dollars.Hecker says much of the money has been raised through institutional funds, an anonymous gift, and a fundraising campaign.