“Spaceship Earth” lifts off at WKU’s Hardin Planetarium

“Spaceship Earth” runs at the Hardin Planetarium through Jun. 23 every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  Admission is free.

Elliott Pratt

WKU’s campus may sit kind of still in the summer months, but the Hardin Planetarium does anything but.

In fact, not standing still is the theme of the Planetarium’s current program, “Spaceship Earth,” which shows audiences that “we live on a world that just will not sit still.”  

The free feature will run at 7 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday and 2 p.m. on Sundays through June 23. The show runs about 45 minutes with an open question-and-answer forum at the end.

Planetarium coordinator Ronn Kistler said the show incorporates different forms of media in the star chamber.

“It’s usually a multimedia situation where we include video clips and slides,” Kistler said. “We like to include the audience with interaction and live discussions. Frequently, we use the planetarium stars to project the night sky in a 360 degree view like sitting on the ground at night to study the constellations.”

Kistler said attendance for the shows drops in the summer, but also said it’s common to fill up the star chamber towards the end of a show’s run.

“We do shows for special groups like camps, businesses, and private parties. Sometimes our star shows can get up to 80 to 100 people, so it can get kind of full,” Kistler said. “We generally have a few camps in the summer, but most of our attendance rises during the school year.”

After Spaceship Earth, Kistler said the planetarium will run it’s annual constellation show from June 25 to July 28, as well as a camp for kids July 8-12, from 8 a.m. to noon. The theme of the camp is “Alien Hunters.”

“We’re about half full in registration to this point,” Kistler said. “We are going to look for alien life outside of earth and around other planets and stars.”

Chris Vibbert, a student a Bowling Green Tech who plans to transfer to WKU, has no plans to study astronomy, but said he loved the “Spaceship Earth” show and plans to come back in the future.

“It was awesome,” Vibbert said. “It was amazing to see the views that they had. It’s something fun to do in town for college students who don’t have a lot of money. It’s educational and it’s interesting.”

Cort Basham is an interdisciplinary studies instructor at WKU and has been to the planetarium many times before. She said  the “Spaceship Earth” show was particularly intriguing.

“I enjoyed this one a lot mainly because you tend to understand the Earth revolves, but thinking about the multiple ways we are moving is interesting,” Basham said.