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Black Holes presentation comes to Eastern’s Julia Fowler Planetarium

Can a planetarium be a spaceship?

The Julia Fowler Planetarium will be opening to students soon. Students can reserve $5 tickets to see evening shows in March.

The planetarium’s new Spitz SciDome digital projector has allowed for new, IMAX-style documentaries with stunning graphics and fascinating material that will carry audiences across galaxies.

The coming presentation is Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity, narrated by actor Liam Neeson and produced by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science of Denver, CO. It is based on the theories of genius Albert Einstein.

In addition to Black Holes, a digital rendition of the planetarium’s original presentation, The Sky, will be showing. It is set over the horizon of the EU campus.

The panorama was created from 21 individual photographs taken in Dec. 2006 and arranged by Observatory Coordinator Steve Sanders, who works alongside David Bradstreet, professor of physical science and director of the Bradstreet Observatory at Eastern.

As well as displaying constellations, moon phases and planets over a familiar horizon, the SciDome can take viewers to the skies to new worlds, rocketing upwards like a spaceship.

They can land on Mars or on Earth’s moon, or gawk at how gigantic Jupiter looks from the surface of its moon, Io.

Presentations will be in the evening. Definite times are still being considered. Bradstreet predicts evening shows will be around 7 or 8 p.m. Black Holes is about 23 minutes long.

Ticket fees will hopefully fund the purchase of other documentaries which, due to their quality, cost between $4,000 and $14,000. The most recent film, Cosmic Collisions, narrated by Ewan McGregor, is currently playing at the Hayden Planetarium of the Rose Center for Earth & Space Science, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, NY. Collisions sells at $10,000.

“As we get more films we’d switch them more,” Sanders explained. According to Bradstreet, there are 25 films available at present.

The hope is to build a repertoire that will provide astronomy students and the rest of the Eastern community with quality educational material.

“We Eastern students can have access to cutting-edge astrophysical research in world class quality,” sophomore astronomy major Chris Plumberg said. “The new Black Holes planetarium show gives us one more way to come face to face with how awesome is the Lord Most High, the Maker of all things.”

“Education first and entertainment second,” Bradstreet said. “That’s the difference between us and large planetariums. They flip it; it’s entertainment first.”

But entertainment comes in a close second.

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