RVCC Planetarium Sets Star Shows, Laser Concerts, Special Programs In July

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From laser concerts and star shows, to special Harry Potter-themed shows and even summertime Halloween and Christmas programs, the Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium has programs for all ages and interests in July.

In addition, with the “Great American Solar Eclipse” set for August 21, many of the Planetarium’s shows will include a five-minute presentation discussing the solar eclipse and how to view it safely. On August 21, New Jersey residents will see approximately 75 percent of the Sun covered by the Moon.

The following shows will be presented at the RVCC Planetarium in July:

Astronomy Tonight, Friday, July 7, at 8 p.m.
Experience a guided tour of the night sky in the Planetarium’s DigitalSky digital theater. Learn about some of the popular constellations visible from sunset to sunrise, as well as the stories behind them. Hear about how and where in the sky to find the brightest planets. Learn about and how to safely watch the Solar Eclipse on August 21.  Weather permitting, the 3M Observatory will be open after the show. (Recommended for ages 8 to adult)

Laser Grateful Dead, Fridays, July 7 & 21, at 9 p.m.
Enjoy a laser concert featuring such Grateful Dead classics as “Truckin’,” “Touch of Grey,” and “Sugar Magnolia.”  (Recommended for ages 10 to adult)

Black Holes, Saturday, July 8, at 4 p.m.
“Black Holes” takes audience members on a journey through one of the most mystifying, awe-inspiring phenomena in the universe: a black hole. Take a virtual tour through space and explore the science and mystery of black holes: Where do they come from? How do we find them? Is there one on Earth’s horizon? The show includes the “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment. (Recommended for ages 8 to adult)

To Worlds Beyond, Fridays, July 14 & 21, at 8 p.m.
Take a journey through our solar system. The show features beautiful images taken from orbiting satellites blended with high-end animations, as well as current information on our neighborhood of planets. The show includes the “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment. (Recommended for ages 10-adult)

Best of Pink Floyd laser concert, Friday, July 14, at 9 p.m.
Lasers dance across the Planetarium dome accompanied by such Pink Floyd songs as “Comfortably Numb,” “Another Brick in the Wall, part 2,” and “Money.”

Winter Wonder Lights, Friday, July 21, at 7 p.m.
Enjoy a laser concert featuring such wintertime holiday favorites as “Wizards in Winter,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Dominic the Donkey.” (Recommended for ages 6-adult)

Fright Light (Family version), Friday, July 28, at 6 and 9 p.m.
In honor of Harry Potter’s birthday on July 31, the Planetarium is presenting its popular Halloween laser concert as we celebrate an evening of supernatural creatures. Songs include “Alive” by Meatloaf, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr., and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.  (Recommended for ages 6 to adult)

The Skies over Hogwarts, Friday, July 28, at 7 and 8 p.m.
The Harry Potter birthday celebration continues! Join an eclectic group of witches and wizards as they guide you through a “Harry Potter”-themed tour of the night sky. Learn how J.K. Rowling used astronomy as the inspiration for some of her characters’ names.  (Recommended for ages 8 and older)

The following show have been specially designed for children:

Rockin’ Rocket Ride, Thursdays, July 6 & 13, at 2:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 8, at 2 p.m.
Put on your space suit and blast-off into outer space to visit the Moon, Sun and planets. The show offers a lively experience for young people with selected music from “Journey Into Space” by Jane Murphy. (Recommended for ages 3-8)

SkyLights, Thursday, July 6,  at 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 8, at 3 p.m.
Our youngest audience members can sing along with songs by mr. RAY (“Family Ride,” “Kalien the Alien”) and Jane Murphy (“Moon Rock Rock,” “The Planet Song”).  Some songs are illustrated with lasers, while others feature video images. (Recommended for ages 3-8)

Laser Pop Rock, Friday, July 7, at 6 p.m.; Tuesdays, July 11, 18, 25, at 3:30 p.m.
Lasers dance across the Planetarium dome while music is played. Songs include “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens, “Campfire Song Song” by Spongebob Squarepants, and “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift.  (Recommended for ages 6-12)

Magic Tree House: Space Mission, Fridays, July 7 & 14, at 7 p.m.; Tuesdays, July 11 & 25, at 2:30 p.m.
Join Jack and Annie as they discover the secrets of the Sun, Moon, planets, space travel, and more.  Who can help them answer the questions left for them by the mysterious “M”?  The show is based on the same-titled, best-selling series of novels. The “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment is also included. (Recommended for ages 5 and older).

Earth, Moon, Sun, and Coyote, Tuesdays, July 11, 18, 25, at 4:30 p.m.
Coyote has a razor-sharp wit, but he’s a little confused about what he sees in the sky. Join this amusing character (adapted from Native American oral traditions) in a fast-paced and fun, full-dome show that tells Native American stories; explores lunar phases, eclipses, and other puzzles; and examine how humans learn through space exploration. The “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment is also included. (Recommended ages 8-12).

Storybooks in Space, Thursday, July 13, at 3:30 p.m.
Enjoy story time in the Planetarium as youngsters learn about the stars and planets. (Recommended for ages 4-8)
Laser Kids, Friday, July 14, at 6 p.m.; Thursdays, July 20 & 27, at 3:30 p.m.
Lasers draw pictures on the Planetarium dome, accompanied by music featuring “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles, and “Glad You Came” by The Wanted.  (Recommended for ages 6-12)

The Little Star that Could, Tuesday, July 18, at 2:30 p.m.
Little Star discovers different kinds of stars in the galaxy, but only the most special stars have planets that rotate around them. The show also includes the “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment. (Recommended for ages 6-10).

Space Shapes and Tycho to the Moon, Thursdays, July 20 & 27, at 2:30 p.m.
Learn about shapes in space and ponder a number of questions: Is the Moon round like a ball, or flat like a pancake?  How are Saturn’s rings shaped?  Look for shapes within the stars as audience members play connect-the-dots to find triangles and squares. Then blast off with Tycho the dog in his spaceship-doghouse. Learn about night and day, space travel and features of the lunar surface, as well as the effects of gravity.  (Recommended for ages 5-8)

The Alien Who Stole Christmas, Friday, July 21, at 6 p.m.
Who says you can’t celebrate Christmas in July? Discover the stars visible in tonight’s sky.  Then follow Santa on a trip through the solar system when a friendly alien kidnaps him.  The kids on the other planets also need presents. The show includes the “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment. (Recommended for ages 6-10).

Planetarium show tickets cost $8 for one show or $14 for two shows on the same day. Reservations are strongly suggested for all Planetarium shows. For additional information or to make reservations, call 908-231-8805 or visit www.raritanval.edu/planetarium.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.