The Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium is one of Texas A&M International University’s and the state of Texas’s most sophisticated digital projection systems. The planetarium’s impressive equipment employs 5.1 surround sound, 3-D computer graphics, and two 4 K projectors that transport audience viewers into the vast mysteries of space and time. Twenty-nine shows are currently being offered to TAMIU’s community and the public –four of which feature history’s greatest music of all time from the bands Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
Summer time is in session and the Planetarium showing schedule is in full effect. I had the pleasure of using my TAMIU student discount for a viewing of Pink Floyd’s iconic album The Dark Side of the Moon. TAMIU staff at the Planetarium was polite accommodating to all audience members. The feature was introduced well with a commentary that provided information about the artists behind The Dark Side of the Moon’s digital work, which was a reflection of TAMIU’s commitment to education. Further, two previews of upcoming animations were shown with their own introduction as well, which enticed a return to the Planetarium even before the main show began.
Powerful graphics of color and movement were projected around the dome in a resolution eight times greater than HD television as the show opened with “Speak to Me/Breathe” –the first title track of Pink Floyd’s album. For forty-three minutes my aural and visual senses were stimulated through the Planetarium’s compellation of art, music, and technology. The Dark Side of the Moon is a rock treatise that must be heard by all, especially at TAMIU’s planetarium. Visuals of floating clocks with existentialist statements in the songs “Time” and “Us and Them”, as well as time-lapses of human beings monotonously passing in and around New York’s Penn Station in the song “Money” are just an example of the awe that was experienced listening to Pink Floyd in a 21st century-developed dome. The band’s use of speaking voices and experimental sound effects, along with contemporary art illustrations, was a perfect combination that cannot be experienced without the Planetarium. I recommend all go see the show. It would be a wonderful event for sons and daughters to take their fathers and their grandfathers, assuming younger generation’s taste in music is influenced by older family members –just like my personal introduction to Pink Floyd. If you have yet to discover Pink Floyd but are a fan of Paul McCartney and Wings and/or Radiohead, you will enjoy the show. The artwork alone is magnificent and worth the trip.
TAMIU extends its education service-enlightenment with membership, field trip, and personal event-reservation options, such as birthday parties or other special hosting occasions, which are, again, open to the TAMIU community and the public. Amenities are offered with reservation purchases. A $15 year-round guest pass is offered for year-round individual membership holders, snack packs are included with birthday reservation packages, student and faculty member discounts are available, reserved seating for public events and sky shows, and discounts on workshops and private reservations, for example.
For more information about show times and events at the TAMIU Planetarium, please call (956) 326-2668. Planetarium office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Summer vacation is the perfect time to check in on all stellar happenings at the TAMIU Planetarium.