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‘Ancient Light’ looks at space and time
Photo courtesy: Fiske Planetarium Facebook

By Joshua Pilkington

Fiske Planetarium takes a look back to look forward

As the founder, CEO and lead designer of SpaceX, Elon Musk prepared to launch the company’s first rocket - with his cherry red, self-driving Tesla in tow - into space, people began look deeper into space than ever before.

“I think there is a lot more information available now than ever before,” said Rachel Yerasi, aerospace engineer and science enthusiast. “So much of our current technology in development is centered in many ways on what can be done outside of Earth, not just on it. We use satellites now more than ever and there are more and more going up every year into space. There is a wealth of knowledge yet to be learned, but we are slowly progressing to the point of life off Earth.”

To understand that science, however, scientists like Yerasi have looked to the past. Ancient colonies and cultures often used the stars and the sky as a means of guidance for travel, architecture and communication. Tomorrow and Friday the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado-Boulder will hold a two-evening live faculty talk that will highlight the art and architecture that thousand-year-old civilizations left behind and how those aspects intertwine with the land, the sun, the moon and the stars.

The talk titled, Ancient Light, begins Thursday at 7 p.m., with an encore presentation scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday. According to a release from Fiske Planetarium, Ancient Light will feature “scholarly, artistic and technological expertise of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Our team includes astronomers and archaeologists who have made some of the most important discoveries in these regions.”

Ancient Light will draw its focus from the state itself, primarily centering on the ancestral Puebloans that built complex and extensive civilizations in the mountains and deserts of the Southwestern United States.

“Our production team at Fiske Planetarium uses forefront technology to create high-resolution, full-dome environments which will immerse our audiences in the stunning landscapes, archaeological sites and under starry skies,” boasted a Fiske Planetarium release. “This educational experience will combine ancient knowledge and modern technology to explore the universal connection between humans and the skies.”

Yerasi agreed that the connection between humans and the skies is one that has existed for centuries.

“It makes perfect sense,” she said of the two-day event. “When you look our ancestors, not just in Colorado or the United States, but all over the world, they were very in tune with the sun, the moon, the stars and the sky. There is a clear correlation, I believe, with ancient architecture and how ancient civilizations viewed the sky. How else can you explain the similar structures in Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru? Those civilizations didn’t trade plans with one another or speak to each other or see a picture and say, ‘that looks like a sound structure.’ The one thing that had in common was space and I believe they all viewed it in a similar way.”

Located on the CU-Boulder campus the Fiske Planetarium opened in 1975 and often offers extensive array of full-dome films, star talks, live talks, laser and liquid sky shows as well as concerts and special live events.

The planetarium’s 65-foot diameter dome is the largest between Chicago and Los Angeles and comes equipped with an 8k Sky-Skan projection system that allows planetarium staff to show otherworldly content in an immersive environment. Audiences not only get a visual spectacle, but are also surrounded with peripheral visuals and immersive sound. Seating allows for 206 guests and the MegaStar projector shows 10 million stars and the Milky Way to create a more-real-than-life indoor sky.

Both Ancient Light faculty talks are expected to sell out. For tickets visit Prices range from $7 for children, seniors and veterans to $10 for adults. Online ticket sales are not available two hours prior to showtime.





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