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Wingate Hall before the 1940's when the front of the building still faced College Avenue.

Wingate Hall

The Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium can be found on the second floor of Wingate Hall, at the University of Maine, the University of Maine System flagship campus in Orono.

Wingate Hall has been home to the Jordan Planetarium since it was built in 1954. The planetarium has been variously used by the University as a classroom for demonstrations, an adventure in learning for school groups and private clubs, and a space theater for Maine families.

Wingate Hall originally was graced with three floors above ground and a clock tower that rang out the class changes through the day. The thrid floor with massive skylights which contained technical drafting classrooms and tables burned in an unfortunate fire in the 1940's. Fire-damaged timbers can still be seen in the framing above the planetarium dome.


While on campus, be sure to travel to some of the other educational sites at the University of Maine. The field trip page has tips and information.

For driving directions to the University of Maine and Wingate Hall, click here.


The Lobby

In the lobby there are many free reference tools for the amateur astronomer, like star charts, constellation guides, and guides for sky watching. There are also fliers and brochures for local astronomy groups; more information on these can be found on the Maine Outposts page.

The glass display case in the lobby shows all the toys, novelty items and souvenirs that are offered for sale at the Jordan Planetarium gift shop. Proceeds all benefit the Jordan Planetarium and Observatory. More information on the items and prices which the planetarium gift shop offers can be found at the Gift Shop page.

The last stop on the tour is inside the planetarium theater itself. But before touring the inside of the theater, take a moment to learn about their unique history. Click either of the links below to learn more.

What is a "Planetarium"?

Planetariums past




The Theater

The roof of this circular room is a perfectly smooth 20-foot dome, which is transformed into an interactive theater screen during planetarium shows.

The center-piece of the Jordan Planetarium theater is a Spitz model 373 star projector, a unique device known affectionately as “Franklin”. The star projector generates a night sky that perfectly shows the positions of the stars and planets. The stars and planets all move in time with the changing seasons and dates, allowing the planetarium host to show the audience how the sky slowly changes in just a few moments.

During star shows the planetarium host gives tips on finding constellations in the night sky, using the planetarium as an interactive classroom. The intimate environment allows easy question and answer exchanges between the host and visitors.

More than a dozen slide projectors work in concert with the star projector to create a visual experience fun for visitors of all ages. Crystal clear space images, personable narrators, informative dialogue and mind bending special effects weave stories and imaginary journeys into the Star Programs.

To plan your next visit to the planetarium, visit Missions.



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Contact | Star Shows | Public Shows | Field Trips | UMaine | Observatory

Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5781
Phone: (207) 581-1341, Director: Alan Davenport