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St. Ann School students take a trip to outer space without leaving the building: Photo gallery

Denise Vacca, seated in the center, explains the solar system to the first grade at St. Ann School. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — Students at St. Ann School in Wilmington took a trip to outer space during Catholic Schools Week. Stars on the Move, a portable planetarium experience that has been coming to St. Ann’s for years, visited the school on Feb. 3 at the end of Catholic Schools Week.

Several classes visited the gymnasium, where they exited the light for the darkness of the inflatable planetarium. Inside, they were treated to an education on the solar system, planets, moons and stars by Denise Vacca, the owner of Stars on the Move. Vacca started the company in 2004 after working at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia for about 10 years. She is currently a volunteer at Ryan Observatory in Lancaster County, Pa.

The first grade excitedly answered questions about the Big Dipper, the rings of Saturn and other astronomy facts, which is exactly what Vacca hopes to achieve in her school visits.

“I try and keep it moving,” she said. “They’re into what we’re doing. They’re just excited about what we’re doing. If they sat here perfectly quiet, I would think I’m not doing my job well. I’m here to get them excited to learn more.”

All photos by Mike Lang.