A Planetarium is a dome-shaped theater specially designed to view educational and interesting astronomical shows. What you learn will depend on which planetarium you visit, the shows they offer, and perhaps even who you visit with. A group of 11-year-old schoolchildren will learn different aspects of astronomy to tell a group of astrology by watching a specific program on the 12 zodiac signs. Most planetariums seem to have your standard pre-recorded shows, but they also offer shows themed for the time of year, eg Autumn Sky, Christmas Star. Some shows are just recordings you watch, while others may have a host who is available to answer questions. Almost all planetariums will have static or interactive displays in their building that you can learn from long before you even step inside the theater dome. Again, most of the larger planetariums will have a telescope that will allow you to view that night’s sky, weather permitting. This is a great advantage of planetariums, since you can see the stars, cloudy or not, and you don’t have to worry about the cold.
Some shows are specifically aimed at young children and school-age youth, while others will be aimed at older school-age children. Planetariums are great places to visit as a trip for a group, such as children with special needs or autism, outings for seniors. Some planetariums even offer their theaters for parties, performances and just imagine your wedding dinner under the stars! Examples of available programs that I have found in my planetarium research include titles like: Aurora, Summer Sky, Winter Tales, Legends of the Night Sky – Orion, Zodiac, Stellar Evolution, Black Holes, The Sky Tonight, The Moon and many more. .. Planetariums are also used by groups training to navigate the stars.
So what will the experience be like? Impressive and unforgettable: I still remember my school visit to a planetarium some 25 years ago, before the advent of 3D images in planetarium presentations. I certainly don’t need an excuse to take my 3 children to visit one when they are a bit older and can appreciate the information and not just the amazing visual spectacle. Around the world, most planetariums offer shows for the general public. You should be able to choose between pre-recorded or live presentation formats. Many venues prefer the live format because a knowledgeable live presenter can answer any questions the audience has on the spot.
3-D digital planetariums have been around since the 1990s and add a valuable sense of real depth to the whole experience rather than the night sky appearing like a star map. This new virtual reality capability that allows the viewer to travel through the universe provides significant educational benefits because it vividly conveys that space has real depth. This, in turn, will help audiences move past the misconception that stars are trapped inside a giant celestial sphere, and instead understand the true layout of the solar system and beyond.
For example, a planetarium (show host) can now ‘fly’ the audience towards one of the familiar constellations like Orion, thus revealing that stars that appear to form one shape from our terrestrial point of view are in very different ways. distances from Earth and are therefore not connected at all, except in human imagination and mythology. This experience can be much more educationally beneficial than other demos, especially for those who are especially visually or spatially aware. Music is a fundamental element to complete the experience of a good planetarium show. The music featured is usually space-themed or in the genres of space music, space rock, or classical music. In fact, I’ve seen shows advertised as being set on the dark side of the moon by Pink Floyd!