Bozeman locals see stars at planetarium's grand re-opening

GALLATIN COUNTY

POSTED: 7:23 PM Mar 02 2013
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Folks form a line at the front desk of the Museum of the Rockies.  They've all turned out for the same reason...to see stars.

"All of our shows have just been filled to the brim."

Taylor Planetarium Director Eric Loberg says he's thrilled with the tremendous turnout for the planetariums grand re-opening.

"This is what we were hoping for.  The members really said that they value the planetarium and so do a lot of the Montana public that we asked what they thought about it," says Loberg.

Bozeman local Steve Garcia says he's a long time fan of the planetarium.

"I was impressed every time I came," says Garcia.

He's a regular at the Museum of the Rockies and says he's eager to see the Taylor Planetarium's new upgrades.

"I know you had old equipment but to me, it was spectacular back then so, I couldn't wait to see what you've got now," says Garcia.

Six months of work and over $1 million went into upgrades for the Taylor Planetarium.

"It really paid off, too.  It looks nice, it looks all new," says Loberg.

Loberg gave me a first-hand look at what their new equipment can do; from a brand new sound system, to new seating and interior to the l.e.d lights and state-of-the-art projector with high-resolution picture and animation.

"Giant step forward from what we had before video and color, movement all over the dome.  It feels like you're really immersed in this picture," explains Loberg.

I caught up with some of the planetarium's visitors after the show, "Experience the Aurora", to see what they thought.

"The coolest part about it was how some of the stars looked so real," says museum visitor Skyler Foucher.

Visitor Dylan Karo says she learned a lot during the show.

"I really like it.  I didn't know the Northern Lights were called Aurora," says Karo.

It's Jen Volnek's first time at the Taylor Planetarium and the Museum of the Rockies.  She says she's been to a planetarium in Salt Lake City before but didn't really know what to expect.

"It was really good.  I think it's definitely worth everyone's wild," says Volnek.

As for Garcia?

"It was spectacular but maybe I'm not very sophisticated because I thought the previous Taylor Planetarium exhibit was spectacular," explains Garcia.

Folks with the museum say it's not just the smiling faces and positive feedback that spells success for the new Taylor Planetarium.  They say they've also sold a lot of memberships on opening day.  The cost of the planetarium is included for members.

Loberg tells us, before the upgrades, they had a tough time keeping their content current.  Now, he says they'll be able to bring in shows from all over the country and say they've already started working with MSU students to come up with original content.