‘Black Holes’ swallows viewers in at Western’s planetarium
By Brian Ramsay
September 14, 2012
The last chance to see a super massive black hole in Agenstein Hall will be on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.
Before you freak out, however, know that it is only a show over Black Holes in the Bushman Planetarium, located in Agenstein 147.
The department of computer science, mathematics and physics is behind this show that is full of 3D-like effects.
“This show is an introduction to what a black hole is and how we observe them,” physics professor Chris Godfrey said. “It speculates a bit on what black holes might allow us to do if we could somehow harness their technology, so it’s kind of a neat program.”
Adding to the entertainment value, fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation may be in for a surprise. Some may recognize the voice of John de Lancie, better known as ‘Q’ from that series.
“What this show does is kind of debunk some of the myth but, it leaves in some of the more extreme possibilities. Anybody interested in science or science fiction will enjoy it.”
Linda Chism attended the show and believes viewers can learn a thing or two from the show.
“I actually felt as though I learned a few things I didn’t know before,” Chism said. “It still left a few unanswered questions, though.”
Beside the educational value of the show, Chism explained why she could go without experiencing the effects of gliding over surface of Jupiter.
“It reminded me of why I don’t like roller coasters,” Chism said.
Department Chair and physics professor Michael Ottinger describes how the planetarium is a lot bigger in size than many may think, allowing the show to physically affect observers, like Chism.
“The dome looks flat, but it’s actually two stories high,” Ottinger said.
Overall, however, Godfrey thinks Black Holes is a show people will take something from.
“Sometimes the science stuff’s a little too dry for the average viewer,” Godfrey said. “But, I think they did a good balance between trying to explain what we really know about them and how we learned it.”
The show costs $4.50 for children 12 and under, seniors, Missouri Western students and employees with a school ID. Adult tickets are $6.50.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or on the web page (www.missouriwestern.edu/planetarium). You can make reservations by calling 816-271-4288.