I went to the Planetarium over the weekend.

My previous visit to the star-spangled dome was during a school outing+ and I recall quite vividly the sense of awe I felt – as if I was entering a hi-tech cathedral. There was a definite aspect of the sacred to this quiet space with its muted lighting, arcane equipment and plush Starship Enterprise seats. Of course, a major contributing factor to the religious tone of the place was probably the threat of dire retribution should anyone dare misbehave.

Much has changed. The machinery and seats are still original equipment (and really beginning to show their age), but the entranced hush of the audience is definitely a thing of the past. To kids who have grown up in a world of Playstations, the Planetarium can’t rate much higher than a moth-eaten fedora. The majority of youngsters attending the show were more focussed on their conversations than the constellations. It seems likely that many of them were there not so much out of an interest in the night sky, but because Mom Said So. The resident astronomer had a torrid time of it trying to make himself heard over the dull roar.

Nevertheless, my companion and I still managed to enjoy the experience. It was cheesy, but in a good way – kind of reminiscent of the decayed and outdated charm of the funfair (but without the ever-present scent of pony dung).

+ In other words, it was some time towards the end of the Cretaceous Period


29 thoughts on “Starry-eyed

  1. In Argentina, I went to the cinema. This was about 9 years ago.

    The place had not been redecorated for about 50 years. I kid you not. The seats were hard wooden jobs, people still smoked inside and flicked the ash on the floor, there was maroon flock wallpaper on the walls. No Dolby surround sound. And there was an usher in a red uniform with a torch. And she walked around with a tray selling snacks.

    That experience was even better than the movie itself. It was like stepping back in time.


  2. Lucky you & your companion … how bout that milky way, huh!!!

    Next you MUST go bowling, just don’t forget your socks like I did ~ they charge you a buck for a clean pair of loaners. ; )

    Starry smooch,
    The Tart
    ; *


  3. angel: Oh, was that you?

    peas: Well that’s a first for me 🙂

    andrea: On earth, maybe.

    lyn: compa’nion n one who associates with or accompaies another [The Concise Oxford Dictionary – 7th ed.] Jeez, do I have to do everything around here?

    marissa: They’d probably left their PSPs at home.

    shutterjane: How could you not know whether you were in high school? Oh, I see

    geena: Geena in Argentina… there’s song in there somewhere.

    granny wrangler: So I’m guessing you won’t be presenting the keynote address at the Foundation for Human Kindness annual dinner after all?

    terri: Hey, that’s MY line.

    cheap tart: Bowling? You mean like pottery class? I thought people used their hands for that.


  4. I love the planetarium…I love tilting back in those chairs and getting that sense of awe as the lights go down….

    …but then again, I’m a sucker for stars. Whenever I go up to the farm, there is always at least one hour spent lying on the grass outside, staring at the sky until it goes 3D and I feel like I’m floating…..


  5. Went to the London Plantaterium and it was a completely different reaction from the kids in the audience. They were awestruck and oooohed and aaaahed at the show.

    Glad to know that somewhere on the planet some kids are still looking up to the night sky in wonder.


  6. anne: Me too. It’s your turn now.

    dolce: You could also get a subscription to People Magazine.

    robert: I can’t help wondering what they wonder, or if their minds are simply wandering.


  7. I went to a Planetarium too. Somewhere in the middle of the country. The sky was dense with stars away from the Big Smoke. I didn’t have to cope with kids talking though.


  8. Pingback: iScatterlings » Blog Archive » A 42 Carat Space Loving Neanderthal

  9. Planetariums, by their nature, are stuffy out-of-touch-with-the-modern-world places. They always reminded me of Victorian zoos (a la Bloemfontein, Jo’burg and Pretoria zoos) – antiquated and dead boring.

    Field trips to SALT should be what the planetarium dues are organising. To go look through an actual humungous telescope is what it is all about.


  10. I do the Hayden Planeterium in NY every year – it is awesome, I get dragged on class trips with my kids. The kids have a great time, its completely interactive and we always get soaked when they show how the weather forms and the chairs shake – it is so kewl. Come visit a grown up one and see a whole new world. Although the wildest thing was being in the SA bush and my kids looked up at the sky, amazed at the number of stars – they had never seen anything like it!


  11. jam: I think I prefer the real thing, too.

    katie: Ugh. I would have been tempted to make a few of them the new stars of the tour.

    robert: You know you’re getting old when you start tut-tutting at the attitudes of youngsters.

    luke: Curse you! You know how difficult it’s been for me to restrain myself from making lame “salt” jokes?

    cherriepie: You have the soul of a poet. I wouldn’t mind having one of those.

    tammy: A tempting offer, but the commute’s going to be bit of killer.


  12. Kyk: I was! I dont believe in ghosts, but I do love ghost stories and was stoked at having the opportunity to wonder around old colleges and the path of the old city wall.
    and the stories he was telling (when you could hear them) were facinating, but the strength of that kind of tour lies in atmosphere, and the electro-strangled version of la macarena is going to kill any wisps of atmosphere brave enough to surface.


  13. I’ve never been to the planetarium either and it was high on my list of ‘must do’ things when I moved to CT in 1977.

    I suspect I won’t be going now – there may not have been the smell of pony dung but pony dung is infinitely better than the buzz of bored kids.


  14. Aah – the planetarium – now there’s a memory…
    Pity kids of today don’e appreciate the good stuff hey? Even my kids – and I have tried everything to build an interest in these things. Maar nou Ja…


  15. Were you at my party on Sat night? or is there some other kyknoord who has a gmail account and left his email on my list?
    (I am a friend of Moonflake, and the blonde DJ and organiser of Damnation)


  16. granny wrangler: Maximum respek. Ai.

    katie: The ‘Ghostbusters’ theme would almost have been funny.

    Alan: I’m sure you’d be able to smuggle some pony dung in, if you conceal it properly.

    lori: It’s a date & likewise 😉

    spooksuster: Sometimes “because Mom said so” is the only way.

    bast: Let me first consult with my clone and I’ll get back to you.


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