planetarium at New Rochelle High School was
completed in 1970 and Martin J. Steinbaum was appointed as
its first director. Mr. Steinbaum retired in 1991 and is
currently an adjunct professor at Iona College. Under his
direction, an annual holiday show, The Star of Bethlehem,
was produced until 2002.
The present director of
the planetarium is Mr. Bruce Zeller, a member of our
Science Department. Each year many of New Rochelle’s
elementary, pre-K, and middle school students visit the
planetarium to learn about astronomy. There are several
sections of astronomy offered as a senior year elective. In
addition, New Rochelle HS students studying earth science
supplement the astronomy section of the NYS syllabus with
demonstrations and presentations in the planetarium. The
facility is also available to private schools and scouting
In 1996, the district
upgraded the original Spitz planetarium projector to an A5
opto-mechanical star projector, along with an ATM-3
automation system. In 2005, the district installed a Spitz
Scidome, a 360 degree fulldome video projector, along with
ATM-4 automation with a 5.1 surround sound audio system.
More recently, the interior of the planetarium was
refurbished, increasing the seating capacity to 84.
Our favorite 2008 upgrade was the installation of
blue and green LED lighting, to create all sorts of effects
such as sunrises and sunsets!