Love is in the air and spring has almost sprung.
The Washington State University Planetarium will offer a night of both with a production dubbed “Pluto and Prosperina,” curated by Dr. Guy Worthey, associate professor in the WSU Physics and Astronomy Department.
An explanation for the changing of the seasons are the topic of this Greek myth and the center point for this hour of stargazing.
Briefly, Hades, or the god of the underworld, steals Persephone (daughter of Zeus and Demeter) from Earth to be his wife and the first inhabitant of the underworld.
On Earth, Persephone frolicked in endless fields of eternal spring. Below, she withers, famished, while her mother, Demeter (goddess of fertility and agriculture), searches fanatically, forbidding trees from bearing fruit and the earth from nurturing vegetables.
The story culminates as Zeus, complicit in his daughter’s kidnap, gives up her whereabouts to
Demeter, who sends Hermes for her retrieval. Hades agrees to her release, but his trickery in doing so cements the future of a winter and a spring for the Greek world.
Alongside the narration, Worthey will feature spring constellations on the planetarium’s 24-foot-diameter dome, mostly the spring constellations, such as Virgo and Gemini.
The planetarium’s projection system will help to further the storytelling. The digital projection unit is capable of showing the night sky, in its correct orientation, for any place on Earth at anytime. It can also project constellation art, zoom-in on particular astronomical objects and perform special animations, Worthey said.
A couple can attend to the show for less than the price of an individual movie ticket, and the parking is free for the designated showtimes. Worthey said the planetarium will sell single roses, and with the inherent romance of the soundtrack and subject matter, “this particular one is a really fabulous cheap date.”
If You Go:
What: “Pluto and Prosperina”
When: 6 p.m. Feb. 12-14
Where: WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall, WSU Campus