The planetarium will host new shows starting Oct. 1 (Photo by Monica Spencer)
The planetarium located on the Southern and Dobson campus of Mesa Community College on Sept. 27, 2023. (Photo by Monica Spencer)

Mesa Community College Planetarium to show the wonders of space and nature with two December shows

Two shows at the Mesa Community College’s Planetarium in early December brought the wonders of the stars and the Sonoran desert to the Southern and Dobson campus.

The Planetarium will see the return of campus favorite show “Astronomy Night: Tour of the Universe with Pink Floyd,” on Dec.1, and a show new to 2023, “Sounds of the Sonoran Desert,” on Dec. 3.

The MCC Planetarium is located on the Southern and Dobson campus in the Physical Science building, PS 15, along Planetarium Way on the southwest side of campus.

The Pink Floyd themed astronomy show on Dec. 1 was sold out online, but interested attendees could still get a free ticket on a first come, first serve basis at the MCC Planetarium starting at 5:30 p.m.

Planetarium coordinator James Enos recommended getting to the Planetarium early to reserve a spot in line for the free tickets.

Tickets are available for the shows that first start at 6 p.m., followed by a show every hour with the last one at 9 p.m.

A formally educated and trained astronomer, Enos will host a Q&A session with audiences to answer questions stemming from the Planetarium experience, which takes audiences through a tour of space set to “ The Dark Side of the Moon,” an album by Pink Floyd which has become a landmark in the world of music.

“Our Pink Floyd show is a MCC produced classic that is due to be updated, so this might be the last chance to see it before the show changes completely!” said Enos.

In contrast to the psychedelic space experience on Friday, the Planetarium’s second show of the month brought a more natural setting that is likely familiar to many Arizonans.

After an introductory show in late October, the “Sounds of the Sonoran Desert,” show, on Dec. 3 at 7:00 p.m., will feature a relaxing auditory experience in the Planetarium complemented by scenes of the Sonoran desert.

Tickets are available online for $3, limited to the Planetarium’s capacity of 52 people. Children under 10 are not allowed to this particular show, and no admittance is given after 7:15 p.m.

The show was created by Tucson resident Thomas Wiewandt over the course of his 40 years documenting the sounds of native animals and natural spectacles like desert monsoons. 

Wiewandt owns media production company Wild Horizons Productions, and made the video project with intern and editor Jeffrey Cravath. 

The two creators will join the audience in the Planetarium to host a Q&A session after the show.

“This is different than anything we’ve ever done as it’s an auditory experience rather than a visual one. It’s a celebration of our desert biome and wildlife and I want everyone to check it out!” said Enos.

Attendees will hear the sounds of animals like Great Horned Owls announcing their presence in their native habitat, and the delicate chirp of quails traveling in a group. Toads and coyotes take over night scenes that capture the night setting on the awakening desert for nocturnal creatures.

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