‘Stars’ in Dome Explores the Final Frontier

Aaron Carlos

Twice a month the GCC planetarium holds an exciting and informative event in which the stars above are the main attraction.

Since the beginning of time the human species has looked to the stars for hope, knowledge, and entertainment. The planetarium gives us a way to continue to search for these truths. It is a state of the art auditorium under a domed roof which seats 50. The setting is intimate which makes it a unique experience and a bit more personal.

The theatre is a marvel. The seats are as luxurious as those found in a new Ferrari. They are very comfortable; more of a warm glove wrapped around your body than a chair. The shows begin promptly at the time advertised, and since the doors must remain shut throughout the show, make sure to arrive early.

The narrator for the show is also the planetarium administrator, Paul Buehler, a friendly and enthusiastic man who leads you on this journey through the stars. There are six projectors positioned around the ceiling linked up to nine computers. The system is constantly updated in order to keep up with the continual shifting of the stars.

The show itself is entertaining. As the seats recline you get a sense that you’re about to experience something surreal. The lights go off and the projectors show a black screen. Then all of a sudden you’re zooming off from Earth and looking down on the planet. Seeing our world from an aerial viewpoint puts things in perspective, like how precious our existence really is. The images are so clear; it’s like literally looking down on the earth instead of just seeing images of it.

The narrator then describes how the planet’s rotation is what makes the sun rise and set. The show is very informative; it’s like sitting in a science class as a child. On this particular night, Saturday, Sept. 19, the audience was mostly children, who were completely in awe of what was being shown on the screen above. Their excitement filled the room, which in turn increased the enthusiasm of the rest of the audience. The children were not the only ones caught in complete admiration.
As the show progresses, the occasional whisper of “WOW!” comes from some of the audience members.

“It makes you think about how lucky we are to have this technology” said Brandon Carignani, a 27 year old Astrology major at UCLA. “I feel like a lot of people take all these opportunities for granted. To have this great show at your school is such a treat. Those images really took my breath away.”

The narrator continues with his lecture by showing all the satellites that circle Earth and their flight patterns. It’s bewildering to imagine how all these machines can orbit our planet in such precise formation. The images on the screen resemble a spider’s web with each individual line perfectly mapped out so that these contraptions don’t crash into each other. It’s breathtaking how far science has evolved since the days of Galileo.

The demonstration is interactive so don’t be hesitant to ask questions. The presenter is very friendly and takes time to answer each individual question. Asking questions is highly recommended and will add to the enjoyment of the show. If anyone has ever been curious about space, the stars, planets or galaxies this is the place to find the answers.

For information on schedules or ticket information, can contact Paul Buehler, the planetarium administrator, at ??(818) 551-5275 or visit www.glendale.edu/planetarium. The planetarium is located above the Milky Way Café in the Cimmarusti Science (CS) building. Admission is $10.