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Planetarium_Logo

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What is a Planetarium?

A planetarium is a theater of the universe. It can surround you with a breath-takingly clear image of our night sky. It can show all the daily, monthly, and yearly motions and cycles of the sky. It can create an immersive digital experience with video, 3D computer animations, narration, and music that reveal the wonders of the cosmos to you, your class, or group. It can interpret the universe in a way that appeals to both your mind and your eyes. The planetarium will introduce you to a life-long love affair with the stars and planets of our night sky, our solar system, our galaxy, and whole universe.

What is unique about TAMIU’s Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium?

Imagine a planetarium theater in which all the sights and sounds are created digitally... A dome theater covered with breathtaking 360-degree video images in which the audience is immersed in amazing digital images and surround sound. This is Digital Theater at its finest, and you do not have to just imagine it anymore. The amazing state-of-the-art Digistar 5 projection system of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium and its impressive digital surround sound and digital video technology project stunning 360-degree immersive video on its large dome, taking audiences on a fantastic voyage to anywhere on Earth, or under its oceans, or in the universe at the speed of imagination.

What technology does the Planetarium’s Digistar 5 system have?

The Digistar 5 system uses powerful computer hardware and computer graphics 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 digital astronomy package.

Designed as a state-of-the-art 21st Century digital planetarium instrument, Digistar 5 is a fully integrated system that replaces the need for traditional planetarium equipment such as slide projectors, special effects projectors, slewable slide projectors, etc.

Who should use the Planetarium?

Students of all ages, teachers, adults, and families are warmly invited to visit the planetarium. Many fascinating shows on a wide variety of science topics are offered to encourage people of all ages to become life-long learners. Ideally, students should make several visits during their school years to experience a broad range of age-appropriate science programs. School and community groups are invited to schedule a private showing by making a reservation online using the link on the “Group Visits” page on our website. Call the Planetarium Director at 956-326-3128 for more information. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and early evenings, and on specific Friday nights and Saturday afternoons throughout the year there will be live sky lectures and planetarium shows on a variety of topics offered, which are open to the general public. Visit the “Now Playing” page on our website for the current planetarium show schedule. Check out the “All Shows” page on our website to watch trailers of the shows we offer and for more information about them.

Do You Have Any Shows That Are Not Educational?

The main mission of TAMIU’s Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium is education, however we do have pure entertainment shows like the mind-bending immersive animations in Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, “The Wall”, and “Led Zeppelin”, and the holiday seasonal show, “Let it Snow”.

Where are the plants?

Planetariums are often confused with other facilities. Although its name sounds similar to terrariums and aquariums, there are no live plants, fish, or sharks in a planetarium--just stars, planets, and amazing immersive full-dome video shows that take you anywhere on Earth, under the oceans, or out in the universe.

Why is late entry to the planetarium discouraged?

The planetarium is not a movie theater; once the doors are shut, the environment in the planetarium is extremely dark. If possible, try to arrive 15 minutes early so that your eyes have time to adjust to the planetarium’s dark environment before the show begins. If you enter the dome after the show has begun, you will not be able to see anything until your eyes adjust to the dark. In order to prevent accidents, and as a common courtesy to other customers, late entry is discouraged. If you must enter late, please do not turn on the light on your phone because it will interfere with the ability of the other people in the audience to see the show. Also, since our shows are about 30 minutes long, those entering late will not get to appreciate the full content of the material shown.

Why is re-entry to the planetarium discouraged?

As we explained in the previous question, once the show starts, the environment in the planetarium is extremely dark. If you leave in the middle of the show, your eyes will get readjusted to the light, and coming back into the dome would be very difficult because you would not be able to see anything until your eyes adjust to the darkness. In order to prevent accidents, and as a common courtesy to other customers, re-entry is discouraged. If you must re-enter, please do not turn on the light on your phone because it will interfere with the ability of the other people in the audience to see the show.

How do you open the dome?

Because both have domes and deal with astronomy, a planetarium is sometimes confused with an observatory. Planetariums are theaters which can simulate the night and daytime skies. The planetarium’s dome does not open; it is used as a screen on which the computer system projects the video images.

 

Contact

Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium and Science Center
5201 University Boulevard, Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center 373A, Laredo, TX 78041-1900
Phone: 956.326.3128 | Fax: 956.326.2459 | E-mail: planetarium@tamiu.edu