LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A multimedia facility and planetarium unlike anything in the area will open to the public Saturday, April 28, at the University of Louisville.

    The Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium will have public shows throughout the day as part of National Astronomy Day festivities on Belknap Campus.

    The $3.2 million facility will include features found in only four planetariums in the world and will offer programs for patrons ranging from small children to their parents and grandparents.

    “Audiences will be blown away by the capabilities of this planetarium,” said Shawn Laatsch, director of the new facility.

    The 160-seat planetarium boasts many state-of-the-art features, such as:

    • A Spitz Electric Sky Immersavision system that projects images onto a 200-degree-by-60-degree screen that completely fills the field of vision and places the audience in the middle of the action;
    • The Audio Visual Imagineering Omniscan Laser Projection System that provides adazzling array of effects and colors that can bring constellations to life, fill the entire dome with black holes and spiral 3-D images around each viewer;
    • A 15,000-watt multichannel audio system that enhances the other technologies and makes the facility suitable for live concerts and other music-oriented activities;
    • The latest in High-definition Television which, along with the sound system, will enable the planetarium to simulcast live performances from around the world; andA star ball that can cover the 55-foot dome with more than 4,000 stars.

    The facility also includes a classroom equipped with interactive videoconferencing capability, an indoor lobby and exhibit area and a gift shop.

    The planetarium will feature a variety of shows, including “Oasis in Space” and the “Legends of the Night Sky” laser show, as well as “Laser Beatles” and “Laser U2” shows. A special children’s show, “Space Bus,” also will be on the schedule. Laser shows featuring bands such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin also will be scheduled.

    For information on the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium, call (502) 852-6664.

    John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.