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Kids Explore Space In White Plains Library

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Emori and Troy Petro were able to admire the night sky during the day Wednesday thanks to Stephen Tomecek and his STARLAB Portable Planetarium set up in the White Plains Library.

The White Plains brothers crawled into the gray, dome-shaped inflatable planetarium where, Tomecek, executive director and founder of Science Plus, taught them and over a dozen other first- to third-graders about the workings of the STARLAB.

"I wanted to crawl in and look inside, too," said Kate Petro, mother of the two boys, who sat outside with her daughter Elizabeth, 2, and the rest of the parents.

Emori and Troy learned how to locate Polaris, the "Big Dipper" and other stars, constellations and even planets, which were projected on the portable planetarium's ceiling as they would appear in the sky Wednesday night.

"I guarantee they will be out there looking for those things tonight," said Tomecek, known as the "Dirtmeister" for his years teaching soil science at the New York Botanical Gardens.

Harry Mullan has followed Tomecek's career, which includes hosting a radio show in New York City, writing and starring in an Emmy award-winning television series on PBS and serving as a writer and science consultant for the National Geographic Society. Mullan brought his son Aiden, 6, to the program Wednesday to share his passion for Tomecek's work, and to get an autographed copy of one of his 45 non-fiction books.

Science Plus has been doing its planetarium programs, featuring its custom-designed STARLAB Portable Planetarium system, for 25 years, according to its website.

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