HSU Planetarium to Show Video about Black Holes

November 13, 2012

Whether to marvel at the wonders of space or just to listen to Liam Neeson talk in surround sound for 24 minutes, tonight at Henderson State University’s Donald W. Reynolds Planetarium, both needs will be satisfied.

Playing Thursday, Nov. 15, the planetarium will be showing “Black Holes — The Other Side of Infinity”.

In this presentation, the myths of black holes will be uncovered and many misconceptions cleared away.

“People say that black holes suck,” said Jim Duke, Henderson’s Planetarium manager. “No. Black holes don’t suck like a vacuum cleaner does; you just reach a point where you can’t get away from them.”

The show provides the analogy of people kayaking in a river. As the river nears the drop off of a waterfall, the current is continuously getting stronger and stronger, pulling them towards the edge. Soon, the kayakers cannot paddle fast enough to escape the pull of the water taking them over the waterfall. They compare this to black holes and explain how this is what it is like when as things try to escape black holes.

“It is more of an entertainment based, educational approach. It doesn’t bore you,” Duke explained.

The show is 24 minutes in length and is narrated by Hollywood star Liam Neeson. It contains many videos, graphics and real life images of our solar system all as part of the show.

“Black Holes — The Other Side of Infinity” is an innovative production that uses high-resolution views of the cosmic phenomena and mixes them along with computer simulations to bring the current science of black holes to the planetarium’s dome screen.

My online astronomy class at Henderson gave the opportunity to go to the planetarium for bonus points,” said Meca Morrow, a former astronomy student at Henderson. “I wasn’t looking forward to it, because I hate science.  It turned out pretty neat actually. Actually the guy who did the presentation pointed out Jupiter, which pointed out that most people mistake Jupiter for the north-star.”

The Donald W. Reynolds Planetarium has been a part of the Henderson campus since 1999. Major renovations and new technology were added in 2009, such as their new Gamma model Digitarium Digital All-Dome projector, a smaller projector in size, but with superior abilities.

“The Society of Physics students actually run the public shows. They use it as a fundraiser for their club,” Duke mentioned.

They have classes in the planetarium and they will also be doing all of the work in hosting the show tonight.

A lot goes into creating and producing these kinds of planetarium shows like they show at Henderson’s Planetarium.

“The cost of a good show is between $7,000 and $10,000,” Duke said.

The show begins at 7 p.m. No late entries will be permitted due to the need for complete darkness through the duration of the showing.

The planetarium only seats 45 people, so it is recommended that viewers arrive a bit early to ensure a seat. The cost is only $1 with a Ouachita or Henderson student ID. Tickets are $3 for the general public. The planetarium is located in the Reynolds Science Building next to Arkansas Hall.

For more information about “Black Holes — The Other Side of Infinity” or to view the Planetarium’s season schedule, visit the Henderson State University website, www.hsu.edu or contact Duke at 501-230-5006.

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