Have you gotten frustrated that you can’t see the stars in Macon? The city lights are just too bright to see any constellations. The Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences offers a great way to see the stars and constellations, while inspiring you intellectually.
The Mark Smith Planetarium was added to the museum about two years ago and has been a big attraction for people of all ages. The planetarium was recently renovated and re-opened with a new state-of-the-art projector and a wider dome. The new theater seating makes watching the shows all the more enjoyable and comfortable.
The planetarium has shows Tuesdays through Fridays at 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. On Saturdays, there are three showings at 11:30 a.m, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Sunday has only two showings at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
During the show, there is an introduction describing facts about the constellations and stars. For instance you find out that the North Star, also called Polaris, is the only star that does not move. All other stars revolve around it.
Another interesting fact is that the Big Dipper is not actually a constellation on its own. It is an asterism (pattern of stars) made up of seven stars. Different cultures and times had varying ideas of what this asterism looked like.
Americans in the 19th century thought it looked like a large ladle while Native Americans believed it was part of a larger constellation of a bear.
After the introduction, there is a 23 minute animated video called Dinosaur Prophecy. The video discusses the theory that dinosaurs died from a giant asteroid hitting the Earth and the possibilities of that same fate occurring to humanity.
The video also goes into detail about different dinosaur species and where their fossils were found. Sitting back in the chair and watching the sky inside the dome is breathtaking and definitely keeps you entertained.
Sky Over Macon is another show that occurs every Friday night from 8:00 to 9:00. Just like the planetarium, the show describes stars and constellations but is updated every week to accommodate the new positions of the stars and planets.
The show lasts for about 45 minutes and opens ten minutes before showtime. Entry and seating for the display is through the planetarium outdoor entrance.
Just outside the planetarium entrance is a new gallery called the Story of Apollo. The gallery includes magazine covers, stamps, quotes, and signed photos from the time that the Apollo missions began.
The collection is temporarily on display for the museum from a local Maconite named Rob Sumowski. The gallery tells the famous early beginnings of manned space flight and how it evolved through the years.
The Story of Apollo will remain on display until September 30, 2012.