With a full-dome lineup and a new series of laser rock shows, the TJC Earth and Space Science Center featuring Hudnall Planetarium is sure to be one of the summer’s coolest destinations.
“We have an exciting slate of dome shows — plus our new Laser Rock Summer series, which I’m sure everyone will love,” said Dr. Beau Hartweg, TJC science center director. “It’s going to be a great summer.”
From May 30 through Sept. 2, science center operating hours will be 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. The center will be closed for the Tuesday, July 4, holiday.
Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children, students and seniors (ages 65 and over). Day passes are $12 for adults or $9 for children, students and seniors.
Private group and field trip reservations will be available from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Admission for a private group or field trip of up to 30 visitors is a $75 flat rate.
The science center is located at 1411 E. Lake St., on the TJC main campus. Parking is free.
Laser Rock Summer series
On the third Saturdays in June, July and August, the science center will feature Laser Rock Summer, a series of high-energy laser dome shows set to rock music by artists such as Queen, Elton John, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and more.
The "Rocket Man" laser show features the music of Elton John.
• Saturday, June 17
7 p.m. — Queen
8 p.m. — Rock Legends Tribute
• Saturday, July 15
7 p.m. — Rocket Man
8 p.m. — Spirit
• Saturday, Aug. 19
7 p.m. — The Beatles
8 p.m. — Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”
Admission is $5 per show.
Dome shows and times
• Children’s show (11 a.m.) — The planetarium offers a variety of shows for children ages 10 & under, including: “Accidental Astronauts,” “The Little Star That Could,” “From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet,” “Earth, Moon & Sun: The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket” and “Dinosaur Passage to Pangaea.” A different show will be selected each day.
• “Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker” (noon) — Between a jagged cliff and a roaring ocean lives a colony of Australian sea lions. In an environment as equally harsh as it is beautiful, viewers are immersed in a classic coming-of-age tale guided by one of Australia’s most unique, intelligent and playful animals.
Narrated by actor Sam Neill (“Jurassic Park”), the film looks inside a colony of creatures where a life of closeness, tenderness and clumsiness sometimes gives way to great sacrifice and bravery. Dive into the world of a rare Australian sea lion pup — and meet the people who are trying to save her species.
• “Great Barrier Reef” (1 p.m.) — Narrated by acclaimed actor Eric Bana, “Great Barrier Reef” captures the natural beauty and exquisite strangeness of the world’s largest living wonder and introduces audiences to the visionaries and citizen scientists who are helping us better understand and protect this awesome, bizarre and vibrant living world.
In "Cosmic Journey," audiences travel faster than the speed of light, from the limits of our solar system to the Sun, taking in the wonders of the planets and their moons.
• “Cosmic Journey: A Solar System Adventure” (2 p.m.) — Audiences will voyage to the outer reaches of our solar system in search of worlds that might support life.
Travel faster than the speed of light, from the limits of our solar system to the Sun, taking in the wonders of the planets and their moons. Volcanoes tower 80,000 feet above a barren surface. Monstrous hurricanes rage for over 400 years. Multicolored rings float suspended in space.
• “Faster Than Light: The Dream of Interstellar Flight” (3 p.m.) — Narrated by award-winning actor Sean Bean, this show dazzles audiences with virtual rides aboard the spacecraft of the future. The craft are based on whole new technologies designed to achieve ultra-high speeds, using exotic next generation rocket fuels and breakthrough concepts in physics. How far can our technology take us?
• “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” (4 p.m.) — Explore the ways NASA uses underwater environments to simulate life and work in space, offering a fascinating look into the high-tech world of astronauts. Join astronaut Chris Cassidy (current International Space Station Commander) as he trains in his space suit alongside a full-sized mock-up of the International Space Station in a giant underwater facility in Houston.
Dive to the sea floor with NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps as she lives underwater with fellow astronauts for 10 continuous days at Aquarius Reef Base in Florida. Find out what it takes to live and work in space.
Gearing up for the Oct. 14 partial eclipse
Hartweg said plans are well underway for the upcoming annular (partial) solar eclipse, which will occur on Saturday, Oct. 14.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, causing the moon to cast a shadow over Earth.
The annual eclipse will cross North America from northwest to southeast. This type of eclipse occurs when the moon is farthest from Earth and doesn’t block the entire view of the sun, creating a “ring of fire” effect around the moon.
The partial eclipse will last from 10:25 a.m. until 1:32 p.m. local time, and the degree of darkness will resemble evening. The next such event in Tyler won’t occur until the year 2165.
Six months later — on April 8, 2024 — Tyler will be in the coveted path of totality for a total eclipse, which will last from 12:24 p.m. until 3:04 p.m. local time. Totality — which occurs when the sun is entirely and perfectly blocked by the moon, which casts a shadow on Earth — will result in 2 minutes total darkness, from 1:43 p.m. until 1:45 p.m.
Hartweg said, “Tyler hasn’t experienced a total eclipse since 1878 — 144 years ago — and it will be the last total eclipse visible in Texas for the rest of this millennium. The next total eclipse in Tyler will occur beyond the year 3000. So, it’s fair to say that we are very excited about this historic event.”
For more information, or to purchase advance tickets, go to sciencecenter.tjc.edu.