Planetarium Hosts First Show of Spring 2024 Semester: Supervolcanoes

volcano erupting

Thursday, February 22, 2024
by Deanna Rea

The first Planetarium show of the semester took place Thursday, February 15, with a presentation of “Supervolcanoes.” The show was held inside the William M Thomas Planetarium, located at the northwest end of the Math-Science building in room 112 on the second floor.

The entire show is orchestrated by Dr. Nick Strobel, the director of the Planetarium and professor of astronomy at Bakersfield College. He is accompanied by the huge Goto Chronos star projector which is positioned directly in the center of the room, and spins throughout the show while projecting light from what seems like a hundred eyes.

The one-hour show was broken up into two parts: first, Dr. Strobel led attendees on a tour of the constellations and planets visible in the night sky. From constellations like Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Orion to the married mythological couple: Perseus and Andromeda. To end the first half of the show, Dr. Strobel presented the Milky Way galaxy across the dome from above, and briefly explained the history behind the name as well as some interesting details about our galaxy.

The second portion of the show entails a fascinating, all-dome documentary exploring the largest, most extreme eruptions possible on Earth: Supervolcanoes! The documentary takes you back into the past by detailing the rare class of eruptions that dominate the other volcanoes. The show then moves into space exploring the impact of various eruptions around our solar system, like the erupting dark geysers on Neptune’s moon and the icy geysers of Jupiter’s moon. Finally, the documentary takes the viewers back to Earth, depicting the scenery of present-day geysers in Yellowstone National Park with one final question: can a supervolcano still erupt in our time?

The Planetarium has a series of exciting presentations throughout the Spring 2024 semester. Students, families, and children aged five and up are welcome to attend. Please visit the BC Online Events Calendar for showtimes and ticket information.