The Mayborn Science Theater at Central Texas College began a new lineup of shows in June. Featured this month are weekday matinee doubleheaders every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Warren’s Star Tour and Laser Friday.
“Secret of the Cardboard Rocket” is shown every Saturday at 11 a.m. Climb aboard this magical cardboard rocket and experience a breathtaking, up-close look at each of our solar system’s planets as two youngsters take a cardboard box and turn it into a rocket. With the help of an astronomy book that talks, the two young adventurers spend a night exploring and learning interesting facts about each planet.
At noon is “In My Backyard” featuring children’s entertainer Fred Penner who leads a lighthearted exploration of things large and small from the safety and comfort of the backyard. Explore the colors of the rainbow, count the number of ladybugs on a rose then can investigate the night sky, learn the names of the planets, explore the reasons for the seasons and why there are shooting stars.
“Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet” is at 1 p.m. The show takes the audience on a tour through space and time to visit the sites of historical earthquakes from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Fly along the San Andreas Fault before diving into the planet’s interior, then travel back in time to witness the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the breakup of Pangaea 200 million years ago. The show also relays how scientists and engineers collaborate to build a safer environment.
At 2 p.m. is “D-Day: Normandy 1944.” Narrated by Tom Brokaw, “D-Day” uses a variety of cinematography techniques to outline the largest allied operation of World War II which began in Normandy, France. It details the history, military strategy, science, technology and human values of this monumental event which helped shape the world during World War II. Audiences will gain a new perspective on how this landing changed the world and how this region became the most important location in the world from the end of 1943 through August 1944.
At 3 p.m. is a doubleheader. The first show is “Losing the Dark” which defines the problems with light pollution, its effects on life and ways in which people can implement “wise lighting” practices to mitigate light pollution. The show details how this luminous fog of artificial light disrupts the circadian cycles of plants, animals and humans; wastes energy; contributes to air pollution and global climate change; and deprives every one of the night sky’s true beauty. More than learning about the night sky, the audience becomes part of a mission to save it.
It is followed by a new show, “Seeing! A Photon’s Journey Across Space, Time and Mind.” Follow the path of a single photon as it is produced in a distant star, before it travels across the vast expanse of space to land on someone’s retina. The show explores some of the fascinating processes of the cosmos, from astrophysics to the biology of the eye and brain. It is narrated by astronomer and science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The matinees conclude at 4 p.m. with one of the newer shows, “Kiuguyat: The Northern Lights.” During winter months, those living above the Arctic Circle are treated to a magical display of vibrant colors and movements, as these lights fill the entire sky. The northern lights, or aurora borealis, are a welcome sight for the Iñupiat people who live in Alaska’s Far North. The audience is introduced to Iñupiat elders as they share traditional stories, songs, personal experiences and generational knowledge related to the lights and will learn what are the northern lights? How did they get there? What meaning do they hold for those who live beneath their splendor?
The evening lineup starts at 7 p.m. with “Back to the Moon for Good.” The show opens with the first era of space exploration in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We research the discovery of the Moon’s origin, composition, structure and the accessibility of raw materials on its surface. The program also tells the story of the Google X-Prize and its goal to inspire young engineers, in cooperation with private enterprises, to send a robotic mission to the moon.
At 8 p.m. is “Cosmic Origins Spectograph” which highlights the current research of Cosmic Origin Spectrograph (C.O.S.) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope — the last instrument installed by the NASA astronauts. C.O.S. allows the audience an unprecedented view into the vast spaces between galaxies which surrounds our own Milky Way and an in depth look at the exploration of this hidden universe as it decodes the secrets to the origins of the cosmos.
The laser light show “Laser Guitar Hero” is at 9 p.m. It features many songs from the popular video game and artists such as Alice Cooper, Rush, Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails and many others.
During June, weekday matinees will air every Tuesday through Thursday at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.
Next week’s matinee shows include “Zula Patrol: Under The Weather,” “Dinosaurs At Dusk” and more. For the full matinee schedule, go to starsatnight.org.
Also in June is Laser Friday which offers three laser light shows on June 28. At 7 p.m. is “Laser Retro” which highlights the new wave sound of the 1980’s with featured artists like the Police, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, the Cure, INXS and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. At 8 p.m. is “Laser Magic” which features an eclectic mix of artists including Joan Jett, the B52s, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, No Doubt, Elton John, Bjork, Third Eye Blind and many others. “Pink Floyd” Through the Prism” is a t 9 p.m. It is a mix of this classic band’s greatest hits such as “Money,” “Comfortably Numb” and “Wish You Were Here.”
On June 29, patrons and take a tour of the current night skies stars and constellations during Warren’s Star Tour at 7 p.m.