Events return to Fujitsu Planetarium3 min read

A+view+of+an+active+satellite+shown+during+the+Black+Hole+show+at+the++Fujitsu+Planetarium+on+Oct.+8.

Emma Caires

A view of an active satellite shown during the Black Hole show at the Fujitsu Planetarium on Oct. 8.

Emma Caires, Features Editor

Displays of the vast universe, laser electronic dance music shows and kid’s astronomy programs are all back at De Anza College’s Fujitsu Planetarium.

Every Saturday, the planetarium offers a variety of events, including numerous astronomy videos and movies, kids’ shows that provide easy-to-understand astronomy lessons and EDM laser displays synced with music from popular artists. 

Live projection of the night sky shown at the Fujitsu Planetarium on Oct. 8. (Emma Caires)

There are three astronomy shows that vary by weekend: exhibits on the moon, black holes and the stars, for example. Afterwards, attendees can expect a live projection of the night sky, showcasing visible planets, constellations, satellites and the moon.

Planetarium director Toshi Komatsu said that the planetarium is home to a star projector that is able to “show the sky from anywhere on the planet at any time: in the past, present or the future.” 

In addition to the star projector, there is also a digital system that allows informational videos and astronomy-related movies to be played on the dome each Saturday. 

“We’re very happy to have flexibility with our planetarium,” Komatsu said. “A lot of other planetariums either have the (amphineum) star projector or they have the digital. Since we have both, it’s a benefit not only to the community, but also to our astronomy programs here at the college.”

After each event, a speaker from the planetarium is available for an FAQ session where the locations of prominent objects throughout space are observed. Komatsu, along with fellow planetarium workers, recommends event-goers bring binoculars to observe “deep sky objects” that are invisible to the naked eye.

The astronomy shows are often filled with higher-level language that may not be easily understood by younger audiences. However, shows like “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” and the “Magic Tree House” program are aimed at helping children understand the vast universe.

Yasemin Han, who attended the black hole showing on Oct. 8, said she and her kids will be “looking at the sky to find Jupiter, the square constellation that’s above of us, and the Andromeda galaxy” — all of which were discussed in the interactive FAQ after the show.

Scene from the Bruno Mars Laser show at the Fujitsu Planetarium on Oct. 8. (Emma Caires)

“I don’t have the answers to all my kids’ questions when it comes to this type of stuff, so we will absolutely be back for the other shows,” Han said.

Deanna Williams has attended De Anza’s planetarium shows since 1977 and says she will continue to attend for years to come. 

“The great thing about it is that anyone, no matter their age, can come out and enjoy these,” Williams said. 

Along with the astronomy programs, the planetarium puts on two EDM laser displays that feature famous music from artists such as Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, and Bruno Mars — and holiday music, once it gets closer to Halloween and Christmas. 

Each show contains around 12 songs by the featured artist, accompanied by beams of light and smoke effects, both of which can be heightened with the purchase of 3D glasses for $1 in the planetarium’s lobby.

“I just love these shows,” Williams said. “I’ve been watching their transformation and evolution over the years and it’s pretty spectacular.” 

“We’re just thrilled [to be back],” Komatsu said. “We love being able to share our love of astronomy with the public again, you know, with you guys.”

To attend one of the programs put on by the planetarium, visit http://www.deanza.edu/planetarium for this quarter’s schedule and event tickets.