What do music, lasers, history, and the Star of Bethlehem have in common? You can experience them all at Buffalo State’s Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium!
Star of Wonder will take place Fridays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from November 23 to December 30, with special engagements on December 22 at 2:00 p.m. and December 24 at noon.
“This program discusses explanations for astronomical events that could have been seen as the Star of Bethlehem,” said Kevin Williams, planetarium director and associate professor of earth sciences and science education. “The show is based on the written history of the star and what was going on in the sky and the world at that time. Even though it’s not a religious show, it ties into Christmas, so it gives people a nice science-related activity to do during the holidays.”
Tickets to Star of Wonder are $6 for adults; $4 for youths 18 and under, seniors, Buffalo State faculty/staff, and non-Buffalo State college students; and free for active and retired military with ID, and Buffalo State students with ID.
Beginning December 5, audience members can attend laser shows accompanied by music from bands such as the Beatles, Metallica, and Pink Floyd. There will also be shows combining music from various groups and genres.
“It’s a combination of art and science, but the art and science are music and lasers,” Williams said. “It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way for everyone to relax at the end of the semester.”
The popular laser light show Laser Holidays features Christmas music. “You see laser patterns including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Clause on the planetarium dome,” Williams said. “It’s something different and fun for the holidays.”
Besides music-themed laser shows, two laser shows for children will present cartoon characters explaining the myths behind different constellations. “After these educational laser shows, we use the planetarium stars to point out the constellations they just learned about,” Williams said.
The planetarium allows people to see the nighttime sky without light pollution. “There’s an excitement about the unknown and the vastness of space,” Williams said. “This is a way for people to see the sky in a way they might never have seen it before.”
The Star of Wonder and laser light shows will be the last shows in this planetarium until the new planetarium opens upon completion of the Science and Mathematics Complex. “Everyone’s really excited about the new planetarium,” Williams said. “It will be a bigger, state-of-the-art space, and we will be able to do much more than we are able to do today.”
Reservations are encouraged for those planning on attending any of the shows. For updated schedules, seating availability, and show information, visit the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium website.