The planetarium has always been my favorite place on campus, so I was shocked when I found out that many MSU students don’t even know it exists.
As a life-long East Lansing resident, I’ve been going to Abrams Planetarium since I was a kid, and I’ve never lost interest. I’ve always loved looking at the photos in the lobby, buying items from the store, walking through the glow-in-the-dark tunnel, watching the shows and then sticking around for the night sky talk.
The highlight of my planetarium trips has always been the shows. Each month, Abrams Planetarium selects two new shows for public viewing—generally, one being a kid's show and the other being for general audiences. And the best part: Tickets are only $5.
You may be thinking, “Why would I want to go watch a 30-minute documentary on my Friday night?” But the planetarium shows are far from boring. The visuals are incredible, oftentimes they make me feel like I’m floating through space or traveling through a wormhole. Then there’s the narration, which is always interesting.
After the show, a presenter does the night sky talk, which involves putting the night sky up on the screen and pointing out constellations, planets and other celestial phenomena. After that, each show ends with a visual that can only be described as a roller coaster simulation in space.
So why is it that even though the planetarium offers a visceral experience, it goes completely under MSU students’ radars?
Astrophysics freshman Alexandru Daraban, a presenter at the Planetarium, said that since MSU has such a focus on athletics, places like the planetarium go unnoticed. Additionally, the planetarium is much more active on their FaceBook page than their Instagram, which draws in an older demographic and fewer students.
Daraban said that when they do get student visitors, they are mostly students in the natural sciences or engineering.
So, my recommendation is that for your next date night, group hang out or if you just have a Friday or Saturday night to yourself, check out Abrams Planetarium. You might just learn something new.
“I think people should come in because of the stuff you learn,” Daraban said. “Space is so interesting and cool. In space, we don't know anything. We don't even know what gravity is, essentially. We just know a couple of things. We don't know what happens in a black hole. We don't know about dark matter, if it exists or not. There's just so much stuff that we don't know, and starting at a planetarium, especially if that stuff interests you, is a really good starting point.”
Go to the Abrams Planetarium website to view showtimes and purchase tickets.
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