Spring Semester 2016
Note: each of the regular, adult full-dome movies described below is always preceded by a live presentation of the current night sky using the SciDome digital video projection system, with special focus on items pertaining to the movie that follows. A live presentation is generally not included in the family shows.
FAMILY SHOWS! Oftentimes, our regular public shows are not well-suited for familes with young children, since the movies are aimed basically at adults (see Planetarium Policy 3 at the bottom of this column). So we are continuing a popular format from last year: the family show. Families with children 5-10 years of age will probably find these more suitable. These are shorter, about half an hour in length, and do not include a live presentation.
The schedule for family shows is not yet set due to not-yet-scheduled computer renovations planned for some time this fall. We'll post information as soon as it's available. Family and public shows will not start before the last week in September.
One final inducement for choosing the family shows: they're cheaper! Admission fees are only $2 for all attendees.
Sundays, 3 p.m.
Jan. 24–March 27
Moons immerses you in the amazing diversity of moons and the important roles they play in shaping our Solar System.
From volcanoes and geysers to ice-covered oceans and methane rain, these natural satellites have some spectacular features, and many even exert a surprising influence on their planetary partners. Learn what these celestial bodies reveal about the history and workings of our solar system.
Follow in the footsteps of astronauts to our silvery Moon, then venture beyond to unfamiliar and exotic worlds. Journey to the outer planets and their moons, and return home with newfound wonder about the dynamic and intricate Solar System in which we all live. (this show is best watchable by children eight years of age and older)
Earth, Moon, and Sun
Sunday, Feb. 7, 2 p.m.
This show explores the relationship between these three familiar bodies with the help of Coyote, an amusing character adapted from Native American oral traditions who has many misconceptions about our home planet and its most familiar neighbors. His confusion about the universe makes viewers think about how the Earth, Moon, and Sun work together as a system. Native American stories are used throughout the show to help distinguish between myths and science. This is our current 3rd-4th grade show for visiting classes.
Perfect Little Planet
Sunday, March 6, 2 p.m.
Imagine the ultimate space vacation! What if you could travel the galaxy to find that ideal place? Discover our solar system through a new set of eyes – a family from another star system seeking the perfect vacation spot. Fly over the surface of Pluto, our best known Dwarf Planet. Dodge the ice cliffs of Miranda. Sail through the rings of Saturn. Feel the lightning storms at Jupiter. And walk on the surface of Mars. Which destination would you choose? In this show, we’ll see them all! It’s a solar system journey for space travelers of all ages.
The Last Question
Sundays, 3 p.m.,
Apr. 3–May 22
This is a different sort of planetarium show! Famous writer Isaac Asimov once said that of all the hundreds of stories he created, this was his favorite. A succession of curious people ask the Question of a line of ever-more-powerful computers, through trillions of years of human history, until finally the Cosmic Computer comes up with a surprising answer.
Using the power of the SciDome projection system, we’ll look at various versions of the Question. Will the Sun last forever? Is there any way we re-energize our home star? Can we travel to another star and bask in its light and heat? Will the cosmos end in a frigid death, or can we imagine another destiny, far in the future?
NOTE: These are adult themes, and this show may not be as watchable by young children as most of our shows.
The Secret of the
Sunday, April 3, 2 p.m.
Have you ever wanted to build a space ship? In this family show, two children do exactly that… and find that it works!
In The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket, the children build a rocket ship out of a large cardboard box. To their surprise, the rocket blasts off, and takes them on a voyage through our solar system. Moreover, an astronomy book they obtained from the local library talks to them, teaching them about the planets. After several exciting adventures, they return to Earth with a new sense of wonder about our solar system.
The Magic Tree House©:
Sunday, May 1, 2 p.m.
Jack and Annie are off on another exciting new adventure in the world's only full-dome planetarium show based on The Magic Tree House series.
The adventure begins when Jack and Annie discover a mysterious note, signed only with an “M,” that is filled with questions about space. Their search to answer the questions for “M” and solve the mystery leads them on a journey from their home into deepest space. The two set out to discover the secrets of the Sun, Moon, planets, space travel and more. Along the way, they meet an astronaut, an astronomer and even Magic Tree House author Mary Pope Osborne.
Admission fees for regular public shows:
$3 Rowan students with ID
$3 Seniors over 60
Admission fees for family shows:
$2 for everyone
Note: we do not accept credit cards, Rowan cards, or BoroBucks!
Tickets for all shows go on sale half an hour before the show. We do not sell advance tickets before that time, nor do we take reservations. We will sell up to six tickets to one person if others in her party are not present.
1. There is no late seating! After the show has started, we do not allow people to come in, for several reasons. (a) It's not safe: in the very dark environment, it's easy to stumble into equipment or chairs, possibly doing injury to you (and to the equipment!). (b) It's disruptive to those who are already seated, if latecomers speak to one another, make other noises, or stand up in the way of seated people. Often latecomers don't even realize the theater is already filled with people, and don't realize how disruptive they are being. (c) If a latecomer leaves the outer doors open, or turns on a flashlight or cell phone to light his way, it destroys the dark adaptation the seated audience has been going through for several minutes.
2. For the same reasons, the doors lock on the way out. If you must leave the theater for any reason, you won't be able to re-enter. Hey, the shows aren't THAT long! And the rest rooms are available before the show!
3. We strongly discourage attendance by children under six years of age, except at family shows. Such youngsters often do not react well to the dark planetarium environment and the theatrical nature of most shows. For many shows we don't recommend bringing children less than 8 or even 10 years old, though we will allow slightly younger visitors. We do a variety of shows for children on school field trips during the week: once a week we like to give adults a chance to see a show peacefullly!
We strongly suggest that, if your child is likely not to enjoy one of the adult shows, you consider bringing him or her to one of our family shows instead.
4. We suggest you do not get up and walk around during a show, for the same reasons mentioned in number 1. If it's an emergency, we'll tell you that rest rooms are located at the top of the stairs outside the theater; but remember that the doors lock, so you won't be able to get back in. If you're tempted to block the outer door open, we'll ask again: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not open both doors at the same time! This lets bright light into a theater full of people whose eyes were adapted to very dark conditions: bright light can be almost painful, and it takes several minutes for everyone's eyes to recover their dark adaptation.
5. Please don't open any food or drink, including water. Our theater is one of the nicest-looking on the East Coast, and we want to keep it that way.
6. Like most theaters, we ask that you shut down your cell phone. In most theaters, the main problem is noise during the performance. In the planetarium, however, the problem is LIGHT! Cell phones cast light up onto the dome, destroying the illusion of the night sky we're trying to create. YOU won't notice it, because you're looking downwards; but your neighbors will get annoyed, probably at the planetarium presenter, when they see a moving blob of light on the dome.
7. The most important rule: you're not allowed to go to sleep during a show...