The Renegade Rip

Planetarium’s show takes audiences to another world

Andrew J. Ansolabehere

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Being able to see the entire night sky at 2 p.m. is a surreal experience. The only place this can happen in town is at the Bakersfield College planetarium.
The planetarium’s most recent show, “Oasis in Space,” not only gives an amazing view of the constellations but an in-depth look at the planets of our solar system.
The William M. Thomas Planetarium is the largest of its kind in the San Joaquin Valley. Seating 76 people, the planetarium uses a Chronos star simulator to put on its demonstrations. The machine uses light shining through thousands of small holes to accurately recreate the night sky.
Nick Strobel, BC’s astronomy professor, gave the presentation and started things off by showing the audience the evening sky just after sunset. Even the effect of the street lights and pollution were recreated in this view of the sky.
Strobel then lowered the lights so that we got the same view somebody could get out in the mountains or in the middle of the desert.
This is when he started the first part of the presentation: outlining the major constellations. “If you have a better imagination than me, or you have some really good medications there, you can see the goat with the fish tail,” said Strobel as he pointed out the constellation Auriga that sits in the eastern sky.
Strobel then moved to the movement of the planets. He showed where Venus, Mercury and Jupiter could be seen in the sky for the remainder of the year.
Finally, we got to the feature presentation. “Oasis in Space” shows the conditions of the planets.
It was very impressive visually and simulated the faces of the planets, giving a first person view of the terrain.
The show lasted just over an hour and was extremely entertaining. Education has never been so fascinating.

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Planetarium’s show takes audiences to another world