By David Luces
The Star Wars film series is well known for its depiction of the galaxy and space technology. For the many fans of the franchise, the Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport will give them the opportunity to journey back in time to explore the Star Wars galaxy once again as part of a special event, Worlds Far, Far Away, on Saturday, May 4 — also known as Star Wars Day.
Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the museum, said the event will merge entertainment and education by showing participants that technology and planets shown in the films are not far from becoming a reality in the future. “The film series has been very popular, it’s something that spans generations,” Reinheimer said.
“I remember myself going to the theater to see the first Star Wars film. Not only is this an educational event, but it is also a tribute to the film series and will be appealing to a lot of people,” he added.
The evening will feature a Star Wars-themed lecture that will take the audience on a tour of the planets and famous locations seen throughout the franchise. After the presentation, guests will be divided into the light and dark sides of the Force and will compete during the event to win prizes by answering trivia questions.
“Our purpose is to develop programs that will spark interest and bring people not only to the planetarium but the rest of the museum’s grounds as well,” the executive director said.
Astronomy educators Matt Garber and Charlie Eder will be leading the lecture and act as “droids” as they take the audience on a tour of the Star Wars galaxy. “We will be talking about the science behind the spaceships in the films as well as showing them important locations,” said Garber. Though it seems that technology shown in these films will be hard to attain, he said it may well be a possibility in the future.
The astronomer said the event is timely as the franchise is widely popular and the teaser trailer for the next film, “Episode 9: Rise of Skywalker,” was recently released. Ultimately he hopes they can get the younger crowd in the audience interested in astronomy. “It would be great to capitalize on that — when you’re younger you sometimes dream about going into space.”
Reinheimer agreed, adding that everyone remembers their first visit to a planetarium and he hopes the upcoming event will renew their interest. The executive director said as time goes by, the Vanderbilt estate, which was built in the 1940s, has become more important. He also said the planetarium holds a special place in space history as it was built in 1971, during the height of the space race with the Soviet Union.
“We try to promote these events and get the word out that there is a true gem right in our backyard,” he said.
Visitors are encouraged to come 30 minutes before each showtime to enjoy the activities in the decorated planetarium lobby. Guests are also encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Star Wars character.
The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport will present Worlds Far, Far Away on Saturday, May 4 at 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
*This information has been updated from original article – Tickets are $20 for adult members; $25 for adult non-members; $14 for members ages 15 and under; and $16 for non-members ages 15 and under at www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.
For more information, please call 631-854-5579.