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YHC to Host 2011 Southeastern Planetarium Association Conference

Monday, June 6, 2011

Media Contact: Krystin Dean
(706) 379-5310,

Young Harris College to Host 2011 Southeastern Planetarium Association Conference

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College’s O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium will host the 2011 conference of the Southeastern Planetarium Association (SEPA), Tuesday-Saturday, June 21-25, making it only the third planetarium in Georgia to host the event since it began in 1970.

The annual SEPA conference is open to all active planetarium professionals and brings together planetarium professionals, exhibitors and vendors to share information, discuss the latest trends in programming and education, see and hear the latest products demonstrated, participate in paper sessions and spend time networking and socializing.

The SEPA is a professional organization for the support of planetaria and staff in Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and all U.S. territories off the southeastern coast.

“SEPA is one of the largest and most active of the regional planetarium organizations,” Rollins Planetarium Director and Instructor of Astronomy Steve Morgan said. “In odd-numbered years when the International Planetarium Society does not meet, the SEPA conference is often the largest gathering of planetarium professionals on the planet.”

The 2011 conference, titled “Creating Mountaintop Experiences,” will feature guest lectures, screenings of planetarium shows and demos, a “Constellation Shootout” competition, vendor displays, presentations and workshops, and an excursion to the new Tellus Museum and Planetarium in Cartersville, Ga.

The conference will also feature a gala banquet and silent auction with all proceeds benefiting the SEPA Professional Development Fund, as well as a “Brasstown Barbecue” with a special performance by musical group Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans, composed of Art Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art Ted Whisenhunt, Religious Studies Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Philosophy Jamie Watson, Ph.D., Adjunct Instructor of English Eloise Whisenhunt, Ph.D., and Darlena Watson.

Ranked third largest in Georgia by dome size, Rollins Planetarium features a state-of-the-art GOTO Chronos Space Simulator star projector with a state-of-the-art full-dome digital projection system, the Sky-Skan Definiti, in a 40-foot dome theater. In addition to a full annual schedule of evening public shows, it offers daytime educational opportunities for school groups throughout the year. This summer, Rollins Planetarium was renovated to include new Irwin seats and carpeting.

The Young Harris College Observatory features a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and is located about 1.5 miles from campus at Brasstown Valley Resort. Observing sessions last up to one hour and include a guided tour of the constellations.

For more information about planetarium and observatory events, call (706) 379-5195 or visit

About Young Harris College
2011 marks the 125th anniversary for Young Harris College, a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. Long known for nurturing students during the first two years of college, Young Harris College received accreditation in 2008 to grant bachelor’s degrees. The College currently has approximately 800 students across four divisions—Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Science—and plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth, including recent completion of a 200-bed, LEED Silver-certified residence hall, Georgia’s first higher education facility north of Atlanta to achieve this certification, and a 57,000-square-foot, LEED-certified recreation center, the second higher educational recreation facility in Georgia to achieve this certification. For more information, visit