Planetarium show will transport children into space

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Old favorites are returning to DuPont Planetarium at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center this winter.

Though many planetarium shows focus on various aspects of astronomy, the returning shows use a more youth-oriented approach aimed at engaging the audience in space travel.

The January show, Larry Cat in Space, is about a cat who follows his human friend Diana into space.

At the beginning of the show, the audience learns of Larry's human family and their interest in astronomy.

Larry misses Diana when she leaves to take a job on the moon as a lunar geologist. He hides himself on the space plane in a trunk packed with items being sent to Diana.

"Basically, the main character, Larry, is having a monologue with the audience," said Gary Senn, the planetarium director. "He does try to interact a couple of times with the audience, including how to talk in cat language."

Larry makes stops on the space station Freedom and eventually gets into a lunar shuttle before he finds Diana.

The concepts taught by Larry are on a far more elementary level than several of the planetarium shows. With the help of Larry, children learn about the moon and its orbit.

"It's basically backyard astronomy," Dr. Senn said. "Children learn about the moon through his experiences, including what it was like during liftoff and what weightlessness feels like."

Over the years, Larry Cat has become one of the most popular recurring shows, according to Dr. Senn.

"Our attendance level is always at its highest, even though this is one of our older shows," he said. "It's just a fun way to get across some astronomy and space-travel concepts, but still have it geared for the younger audience."

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or julia.sellers@augustachronicle.com.

DUPONT PLANETARIUM SHOWS

DATES: Friday and Saturday


TIMES: Larry Cat in Space, 7 p.m., Dark Shadows, 8 p.m. each day


COST: $4.50 Adults, $3.50 seniors, $2.50 4K-12th graders, $1 USC Aiken students, faculty and staff with ID


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