Mesa Community College is bringing back Astronomy Night to the planetarium on campus starting Oct. 1 with a new show titled “Tour the Universe with Pink Floyd.”
There will be four shows taking place every hour on Oct. 1 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Seating will be limited to half capacity, allowing for 26 available seats per show.
Astronomy Night had been postponed indefinitely in March of 2020 after the campus decided to go remote-learning only. Prior to the postponement, Astronomy Night normally featured guest speakers or guests who conduct research at ASU.
Although most Astronomy Night shows are intended to be educational, the first show upon returning will be more for entertainment.
“It is literally just the album Dark Side of the Moon from Pink Floyd with visuals of going on a tour through space,” said MCC planetarium coordinator James Enos.
The planetarium uses its dome structure to create unique and immersive shows. After not having shows for over a year, it is ready to welcome the public back in to experience the stars once again.
Shows usually take place on the first Friday of every month. September was skipped as the district was planning what safety measures to put in place for the reopening of the planetarium.
“We are going to be doing October, November, and December. We are hoping to have our hands on a brand-new show for the November and December astronomy nights called ‘Beyond the Sun,’” said Enos.
Production for shows can take months, depending on the content of the show. Even simpler shows like this one can take two to three months.
“When you start getting into the actual educational and instructional videos, that can take quite some time. We do all of our own renderings here, which means we are basically creating all of the 3D assets and digital imagery from scratch,” said Enos.
As for future plans with the planetarium, Enos is taking a more measured approach.
“We’re still taking baby steps for the reopening, so we don’t have any new MCC-produced shows for the immediate future. Honestly I’m just happy to be able to reopen with the Pink Floyd show, and start getting people interested in what’s going on in the sky above us again,” said Enos. Tickets are available through the MCC PurplePass page for $3 per ticket.