Friday, July 9, 2010

Ingram Planetarium, Sunset Beach, N.C.

Another unique attraction often overlooked when visiting Brunswick County, N.C. is Ingram Planetarium, a few miles south of Museum of Coastal Carolina just off Sunset Boulevard, aka Route 179, in Sunset Beach. Both facilities lie under the umbrella of Ocean Isle Museum Foundation, Inc., which supports them.

Ingram Planetarium enjoys the luxury of being one of the few planetariums around the world to have SciDome HD, a system that projects around three million pixels on the sky dome. With ImmersaVision from Spitz, Inc. visitors see 360 degrees of viewing. No matter where they sit, nothing is blocking their view. In addition, it contains 500 million objects and is updated on a regular basis. Technicians can show 88 constellations in various ways.

Mark Jankowski, senior technician at Ingram, said he can outline the stars six different ways, show the Big Dipper, connect the dots and display the overlay of a bear. He takes viewers into space and makes them feel as if they are really there. Want to go to Jupiter, Saturn or Mars? Just make the request.

Shows at the planetarium begin on the hour starting at 1 with “Astronaut.” At 2 the program is “Oasis in Space,” 3 is “Zula Patrol: Under the Weather” and 4 is “Seven Wonders.” Free family programs are also available through Aug. 19 in the Paul Dennis Science Hall. Tuesdays feature “Navigating the Seas.” Wednesdays have “Turtle Talk” and Thursdays offer “Sun Fun” in which families look through a solar telescope and discover sun and participate in sun-related activities.

The planetarium also offers musical laser shows at 5 and 6 p.m. through Aug. 19. On Tuesdays at 5, catch “Laser Beatles.” At 7 watch “Laser Arena Rock.” On Wednesdays at 5 see “Laser Metallica” and at 6 is “Pink Floyd: The Wall.” It is recommended that young children not see this one. On Thursdays at 5 “Laser Beatles” returns, and at 6 is “Laser Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon.”

The planetarium is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12:30- 7; on Fridays and Saturdays from 12:30 to 4. Cost per show is $8 for those 17-59 and $6 for those from 3-16 and those 60+. People can find more information at, e-mail personnel at or call 910-575-0033.

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