Planetarium holds week-long Laserfest

BY ALISON SMITH
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LaserPinkFloyd1Laserfest 2014 starts this Friday in the MSUM’s planetarium and will feature 30 laser shows over seven days. The nine different shows to be projected on the planetarium dome in Bridges will involve laser images choreographed to a soundtrack.

Those from older generations may remember flocking to planetariums back in the ‘70s to see dazzling laser shows accompanied by music from big name artists like Pink Floyd.

With something for everybody, Sara Schultz, professor of physics and astronomy, called Laserfest 2014 a unique experience that no one should miss. There will be music shows by legends like Led Zeppelin, family educational shows like Laser Safari and even something for the patriotic spirit with American Pride Laser Spectacular.

Schultz said the department of physics and astronomy has been interested in bringing laser shows to MSUM for the past couple years.

Because the system rented from Prismatic Magic, LLC to project shows is “fairly expensive,” Schultz said they wanted to make sure the time was right in order for it to be successful. After talking with a couple student groups, the department noticed quite a bit of student interest and decided it was time to get the ball rolling.

The system rented from Prismatic Magic will be at MSUM for one week. The department is receiving the system on Thursday, will hold a screening for the media on Friday, and shows will begin Friday evening.

David Weinrich, planetarium coordinator, listed a few reasons for introducing the MSUM community to laser shows. First and foremost: “Laser shows are fun; a proven audience pleaser wherever they’ve been played,” Weinrich said.

Weinrich also hopes to attract audiences that haven’t experienced the planetarium before, with hopes that they’ll like what they see and want to come back.

Schultz also mentioned the long winter as a reason to check out the shows. “People are really starting to hit the winter blahs, semester blahs,” Schultz said. “It’s kind of a nice mental break for everyone … before the spring gets really busy.”

With schools like Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall holding laser shows on a regular basis, the possibility of MSUM eventually getting a system of their own isn’t completely out of the question. Schultz said Laserfest 2014 will be a trial period to see just how successful something like this can be on campus.

“We’re hoping to get a big bang and generate enough interest that we can bring it back again,” Schultz said.

Student workers will be involved in the presentation, and students from the Society of Physics Students are volunteering to help out with ticket sales.

For the first time the planetarium is partnering with the MSUM box office, so people are able to purchase tickets in advance online.

For a full list and description of the shows offered, visit mnstate.edu/laser.

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