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.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.