**Posted on behalf of Jill Jessop for the Stardome Observatory
A little over two years ago Stardome added Tuesday Night specials to our line up of shows. These shows are specifically targeted at an adult audience and offer wine or beer as part of the experience.
The Night Sky show which is our normal 8pm show has always been our most popular. At the end of this show we always get many questions and for this reason we decided to offer and extended two hour version of the night sky: Wine, Cheese & Astronomy which is our first Tuesday night special every month.
The first part of the show is a similar format to out normal Night Sky show (constellations, viewable planets etc.) but with more detail and deeper sky objects. After the intermission we leave the Earth and venture out through the Solar System stopping off at planets and their moons. We look at the path of the Voyagers as we venture further outside our Solar System to star clusters, nebula, and exoplanets. When we get far enough out we stop awhile to look at the galaxy we call home. As we venture further still start turning on all the data sets that show our neighbours in space, the nearby galaxies. We travel even further until our own galaxy is just a dot like all the others. After that rather sobering look at just how big the Universe really is its time for a look at the real sky outside (weather permitting)
On the following three Tuesdays in the month we run our music shows. We have five music shows at present, three Pink Floyd music shows; ‘Dark side of the Moon’, ‘The Wall’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ a Led Zeppelin and one from U2. These shows have proved to be very popular and attracted a wide range of people; especially the Pink Floyd shows. The audiences for these shows vary from those who are reliving their youth and the love of Pink Floyd to those who are new to the band. At half time customers are given a BBQ sausage in bread with of course tomato sauce and mustard. A very welcome treat! The music shows are always played as a double feature on Tuesday nights.
About a year ago we introduced another experience to the music shows with the inclusion of lights and lasers. Around the dome we placed four led zoom spots front and back, as well as six led wash lights. These are all programmed through software. We timed these to the music with colour effects on and around the dome and audience. Adding to these are two lasers programmed and run through a separate software and again programmed to the music for effect and impact. In order for the lasers to be effective we have to haze the dome using theatrical smoke so that the lasers are visible.
We sometimes have a fifth Tuesday in the month and on these Tuesday we run Celestial Navigation. This show is aimed at boaties or trampers and gives them the tools to be able to find direction without the aid of equipment. The army and the navy often attend and recently we had a group of adventurers who were travelling the pacific and recreating the first navigation to New Zealand.