ORONO — Construction is expected to start soon following a groundbreaking ceremony for the University of Maine’s new astronomy center.

Officials broke ground for the Emera Astronomy Center on Monday.

The $5.2 million center was made possible with a $1 million naming gift from Emera Inc., the parent company of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service, and an anonymous $3 million gift.

The Emera Astronomy Center will be the home of the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory. The 7,400-square-foot center, with adjacent 618-square-foot observatory that will house the largest telescope in the state, could open as early as fall 2014.

Planetrairium director Alan Davenport tells WABI-TV the facility will help students “travel into space to nearby stars and to distant galaxies to see how the universe is put together.”