If you're a long-time or native Tucsonan like me, you may have memories of Hector Vector Star Projector like I do from my first school field trip in second grade: An awe-inspiring, state-of-the-art projector rising majestically from beneath the planetarium floor, delivering full-dome images that transported me to Mars and other worlds.
While Hector still cuts a majestic and imposing figure for school groups and adults, he has sadly fallen behind the times - what with the miniaturization and high-definition quality of modern digital projectors.
If you want to get a glimpse of what the future of the Flandrau Planetarium could be, you have your chance for this weekend only. While the laser projector that treats fans to Pink Floyd and other music shows is out for repair, Flandrau will be showing demos of some new dome shows using a SkyScan digital projector, one of the best on the market.
All shows are free this weekend only, and are first-come, first-serve. The featured show is "Life: A Cosmic Story," which takes you on an immersive journey through cells and into galaxies, and is narrated by Jodie Foster:
There's also a cool kid's show, as well as "Voices in the Dark," an awesome music and animation show:
Full disclosure: I used to be in charge of marketing and digital for Flandrau (I helped bring back the Pink Floyd laser show - you're welcome). But if Tucson wants to ever get some cool new gear to get kids excited about science and blow their parents' minds with awesome shows, folks need to come out and show their support.
Show times are available at Flandrau's website.