On Thursday, Nov. 5, Clarion University graduate student William Snyder presented his planetarium show, “Stars Over Clarion” in the Science and Technology Center’s Pierce Planetarium.
Snyder’s November presentation marked two years of his free, educational shows. Snyder said he was inspired for the show through an internship experience at the Carnegie Science Center, referring to the show as a way to give back.
“Stars Over Clarion” welcomed a broad range of community members and university students who filled the entire planetarium.
Snyder noted a “great response from the community” and celebrated surpassing 1,000 community visitors to “Stars Over Clarion.” Snyder expressed enthusiasm over the community involvement in his show, saying that experiencing people’s reactions and seeing what they got out of it was what he enjoyed most about his presentations.
The show began with a tour of a typical evening sky in the month of November. Snyder explained the concept of light pollution, that excess light from earth is reflected back, hiding some stars from sight and dimming others. Snyder said that planetarium conditions were ideal.
Snyder guided the audience via laser pointer through the heavenly lights. He detailed what constellation star-gazers ought to be able to discern if they tried to go out and find the various points of light on their own. Snyder led the audience through several major constellations viewable in November, and explained how certain stars “set” or become un-seeable as the Earth rotates and seasons change.
Snyder said he enjoys doing the show in winter months because his favorite constellation, Orion, is rising. Snyder spoke briefly of Orion during the November show and of the examples of different colored stars that are a part of this constellation’s make-up: Rigel and Beetlejuice.
Snyder ended “Stars Over Clarion” in his traditional style of presenting an original light show. He noted the composition, largely due to the specific timing of the lights, is the most difficult part of the show. Colored lights were timed to the music of “Jupiter” from the Planets’ Suite by composer Gustav Holst. This was Snyder’s premiere of this particular light show.
“Stars Over Clarion” will next be presented Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. As with each edition of this show, it will differ in content from the November presentation.
The planetarium will also host a show called “Seasons of Light” on Friday, Dec. 4 and Friday, Dec. 11. “Seasons of Light” explores holiday traditions surrounding and stemming from stars and other heavenly bodies.