Planetarium to host laser shows

Lighting up the night sky: The 37-year-old planetarium equipment sits ready to perform for a rare show. Beginning this week, a new full-dome projector will be installed, the first in a multi-step process to update the aging facility. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi.

Lighting up the night sky: The 37-year-old planetarium equipment sits ready to perform for a rare show. Beginning this week, a new full-dome projector will be installed, the first in a multi-step process to update the aging facility. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi.

Humera Lodhi

Last January, RBHS Planetarium hosted its first ever laser show. Director of the planetarium, Melanie Knocke, got the idea for the show when she attended a planetarum conference and saw a group presentation of lasers set to educational songs.
“It was not just lasers and music, but they took an educational song and animated it with the lasers. I really liked it,” Knocke said. “It was a neat combination of bright colors and fun music and they wrapped it altogether in this neat package. So it was educational and fun.”
Inspired by this presentation, Knocke decided to put on a show at Rock Bridge, and opened the laser shows to both RBHS students and the general public. Because of last year’s success, Knocke decided to put on the shows again this January.
The shows for the general public will be on weekends throughout the month. Some shows, Knocke said, have more of an educational theme, and these are free for everyone. Others, however, are set to a theme of music and for entertainment purposes, and these have a $5 fee.
The laser shows will also be played on specific days, during school for students. Last year, Knocke noticed that many students came not on their own, but rather with their teachers in Bruin Block and in class. Seeing this, Knocke decided to instead, focus on contacting teachers and encouraging them to bring their classes.
“Last year there were two Bruin Blocks that were jam packed but very few people wandered in during their AUT time,” Knocke said. “This year, I’m trying to advertise more to teachers, to have teachers to sign up to bring their classes.”
Many teachers, Knocke said, have already signed up to bring their Bruin Blocks to see the laser show. One Bruin Block slot is already full, with four classes signed up to view the show. Physics teacher Stephanie Harman brought her Bruin Block to see the presentation last year, and has already signed up to do the same this January.
“We are one of the only schools in the country that have a planetarium and it if you don’t get a chance to step foot in that throughout your career, its a shame,” Harman said. “Plus, the shows are just cool. It’s super nice that we have the opportunity to go and see it.”
Last year, Harman said, the students really enjoyed watching the shows. Many students enjoyed seeing the interaction between the lights and music.
“It’s awesome to see the shows. It’s very interesting to see the what colors go with what sound,” Harman said. “And the students enjoy it very much as well. I encourage everyone to go if they have the chance.”
By Humera Lohdi
Lighting up the night sky: The 37-year-old planetarium equipment sits ready to perform for a rare show. Beginning this week, a new full-dome projector will be installed, the first in a multi-step process to update the aging facility. Featured photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi.