Starlight at the Melbourne Planetarium

Starlight
A review by C J Dee

Writer and director: Dr Tanya Hill
Starring: Sigrid Thornton
Venue: The Melbourne Planetarium
Running time: Approx 45 minutes
Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

I arrive at the Scienceworks Museum, where the Melbourne Planetarium is located, about an hour early. I figured it’s better to be early than late and that I can find somewhere to sit and read. Instead I found myself meandering through fascinating exhibits, interactive displays and a gift store with lamps shaped like dinosaurs. Suffice to say, I found myself in heaven on earth.

What came next was even more amazing.

I walked into the Melbourne Planetarium foyer just before the doors opened.

[Ouch. – Editor’s note]

The foyer was bustling with activity and excitement as people lined up for entry. The doors opened and I made my way to a seat in the back row, in awe of the dome above me, and reclined my chair. The introduction was made by Dr Tanya Hill; the stars arrived and darkness descended.

Margaret, like so many of us, was afraid of the dark as a child. The darkness holds any number of terrors and monsters. Originally she feared the darkness came from outside like a creeping invader intent on terrifying her. However, when she took a look outside and up to the night sky, a bright world appeared before her.

Through Margaret’s eyes and the voice talents of Sigrid Thornton, the viewer is taken on a journey through the life and death of a star. Most of the show is based around the past, present and future of Earth’s nearest star: our sun.

Starlight was a wondrous experience. In the spirit of mish-mashes, I would say it was like Cosmos meets a 3D movie where you get to lie down. The show was two years in the making and worth every moment in this reviewer’s opinion.

The science in Starlight is fascinating. Have you ever wondered how scientists know the distance of a star from earth? What makes up a star? What happens when a star dies peacefully and how is it different from a star that goes supernova? These questions and many more are answered with dynamic reenactments and animations.

If you like science, science-fiction (I found myself knowing much of the terminology from Star Trek) or astronomy, or if you’ve ever looked up and wondered, then Starlight is 45 minutes you won’t want to miss.