TAMIU Planetarium Offers New Shows This Weekend
Take a groovy trip through space to your youth and back with “Rock Hall of Fame” or watch “Force 5” and experience Mother Nature’s violent storms in the comfort of the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center (LBVSC) Planetarium. “Rock Hall of Fame” debuts Saturday, July 2 at 8 p.m. and “Force 5” hits Laredo Friday, July 8 at 7 p.m. The Planetarium will also host a special presentation of “Rock Hall of Fame” Monday, July 4 at 7 and 8 p.m.
“’Rock Hall of Fame is a potpourri of music from the classic rock artists, such as Pink Floyd, U2, the Beatles, Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, and Midnight Oil. As the music plays, there are coincident light images on the dome and even some fireworks. It’s about 40 minutes of mind blowing pyrotechnics,” explained Dr. John Winfrey, Planetarium director and assistant professor of math and physical sciences.
As the birthplace of rock and roll, it seems appropriate to honor Independence Day with some classic rock and fireworks, added Dr. Winfrey. Rock music lovers and even technological and animation gurus can sit back and enjoy the latest in computer animation technology as it hits the dome in this immersive thrill ride set to the hits of classic rock.
Audiences don’t have to have a background in meteorology or be amateur storm chasers to enjoy “Force 5.” But to explain a bit about the title of the film, in weather terms, Force 5 refers to a tornado with wind speeds from 261 – 318 mph that is also strong enough to lift houses off foundations and uproot trees or take Dorothy to Oz.
“’Force 5’ is about violent weather. It includes tornadoes, hurricanes and in particular, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. It also includes a segment on violent weather on the Sun, which causes electro-magnetic disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere, which affects air-based satellite communications and power grids. It will also be introduced by Laredo’s own Richard ‘Heatwave’ Berler,” said Dr. Winfrey.
The feature will allow audiences to experience nature’s fury as they might not be able to otherwise: audiences will ride out a massive hurricane in the heart of the sea, get carried into the massive funnel cloud of a violent tornado and launch into orbit around the sun as a gigantic solar flare erupt from its surface.
General admission tickets to “Rock Hall of Fame” cost $6 and $5 for “Force 5”. Tickets for children under 12 for both shows are $3; TAMIU students, faculty and staff tickets are $4. Cash only please. Group rates are available for 20 or more people; advance reservations required.
After the main features, audiences can stick around to catch the Planetarium’s Skyshow. Dubbed “Laredo Tonight,” the show takes a look at planets and constellations visible that night. During the first week of July, the Skyshow will feature “Deep Impact,” the July 4 NASA mission to drill a crater into comet Tempel 1.
The TAMIU Planetarium has one of the few new generation digital projectors. Prior technology only allowed a view from the Earth; this projector allows viewing from any part of the known universe. Thus, one can travel to structures unseen, except to highly developed telescopes. The Digistar 3 projectors use powerful graphics hardware and software to generate immersive full-dome images on the interior surface of a dome, integrating all-dome video, real time 3D computer graphics, and a complete astronomy package.
For more information, visit the Planetarium on the Web at tamiu.edu/coas/planetarium or call (956) 326-2444.
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