"Comet Halley: Once in a Lifetime" Planetarium Sky Drama
At Pittsburgh's Original
Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science

Authored By Glenn A. Walsh *** Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss
Electronic Mail: < winter@planetarium.cc > *** Internet Web Site Cover Page: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
This Internet Web Page: < http://buhlplanetarium3.tripod.com/skyshow/winter >
2009 May

"The Stars of Winter" is one of four seasonal, "star-identification" planetarium shows, which also includes "The Stars of Spring," "The Stars of Summer," and "The Stars of Autumn," that was shown in the Theater of the Stars of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. Other planetaria, including the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium (a.k.a. Buhl Digital Dome) in Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center, also show such seasonal planetarium shows, using the same names or different names.

As with most star-identification shows, these seasonal shows were typically "live" sky shows, where the planetarium lecturer would use the entire time to point-out major stars, planets, and other celestial bodies that could be seen during that particular season. The lecturer could explain what scientists currently know about these celestial bodies, from the most recent astronomical and space research. He or she could also tell stories about the night sky, including the mythology surrounding the constellations and other celestial bodies. Limited pre-recorded segments were included in these live shows, but slides and other special effects could be used.

Seasonal shows were usually performed at or near the beginning of their respective season and had a one or two-week (typically one week) run, before the beginning of the next topical/multimedia show. In the case of "The Stars of Winter," this show usually did not begin until the first or second week of January, following the very popular and historic "The Star of Bethlehem" (a.k.a. "The Christmas Star") sky drama. As the Winter Solstice usually falls around December 22, and "The Star of Bethlehem" was always performed during the month of December (often many, many performances per day, particularly during weekend and holiday periods), "The Stars of Winter" could not begin until after the Christmas and New Year's holidays had concluded. The only exception to this was in 1990, when vandalism to a computer unit in the Planetarium Control Console made performances of "The Star of Bethlehem" impossible; "The Stars of Winter" began a few days before the beginning of the New Year during that last Christmas season of public performances in the Theater of the Stars of the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

"Comet Halley: Once in a Lifetime" Planetarium Show Script
Presented: Beginning 1986 January 15 to March 25 at
Pittsburgh's Original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science
(Courtesy: F.G. Graham)

The following is "The Stars of Winter" script used by long-time Buhl Planetarium Lecturer Francis G. Graham. This is the script used by Mr. Graham in January of 1980. Usually, the typed portion of the script would be the portion provided to all planetarium lecturers by then-Planetarium Director Paul Oles; often planetarium lecturers would then write their own notes on the script, to help them perform the show. In the case of the script provided by the following links, Mr. Graham wrote this entire script himself. It was not unusual for planetarium lecturers to customize these live planetarium shows, to emphasize points they think are important. However, in most cases the planetarium lecturer did not go to all of the trouble to completely rewrite the script, as Mr. Graham did with this script for "The Stars of Winter."

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Authored By Glenn A. Walsh *** Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss
Electronic Mail: < winter@planetarium.cc > *** Internet Web Site Cover Page: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
This Internet Web Page: < http://buhlplanetarium3.tripod.com/skyshow/winter >
2009 May

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Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

Other Internet Web Sites of Interest

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

History of Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago

Astronomer, Educator, and Telescope Maker John A. Brashear

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

Historic Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh

Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web Site is not affiliated with the Andrew Carnegie Free Library,
Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves Civil War Reenactment Group, Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute, or The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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Contact Web Site Administrator: < winter@planetarium.cc >.

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