Newest Review: ... fun but perhaps just two hours, maybe. The entrance lobby had a few interesting gadgets and interactive displays, but I remember thinkin... more
A quick peek at the planets
Member Name: Rosy24
Date: 27/04/01, updated on 16/05/01 (119 review reads)
Advantages: A few stunning moments
Disadvantages: Way too short
My boyfriend and I visited the planetarium as part of a joint ticket with Madame Tussauds included. It is easy to get to right beside the Baker St tube station. I must say while there were some redeeming features I was not overly impressed by it, and it is just as well it is on the other side of Madame Tussauds because it really does not stand out as a major attraction all by itself. This is because firstly the main show is far too short, and secondly there is not a sufficient variety of “displays” you look at before you enter the main arena.
Displays included weight machines that gave peoples weight on Venus, Mars and simultaneously on earth, which was indeed quite interesting, depending on the gravity of the planet, you were either much lighter or much heavier. It was however my weight on the planet Earth that worried me the most after scoffing a particularly big lunch!
Other displays are hard to recall as they are not very memorable but I think I remember seeing a big sun with information on how hot it is there, and there was a curious contraption to the side of the room which was shaped like a bowl and you can throw a ball down it and this represents debris being sucked into a black hole. Quite.
Everywhere there is electronic screens displaying more information on space although these screens were not of much interest to me as you have no control over the speed of information and it seemed to be quite a few minutes before the screen changed. The information was not scintillating enough for me to stand staring at it for so long, I’m not sure why there were buttons on these screens though as it gives people the false impression that they can change the screen.
Anyway after that not overly awe inspiring section we came to the queue for the show. Shows start every hour on the hour and luckily we were just in time for the main show, thank God! We were shown into a dark circular arena, which looked just like a cinema
but with the screen over our heads. A voice comes on as the light dims and basically tells us we are in a rocket and we about to set off on a journey (exact words evade me) so the roof opens up and space reveals itself gradually to us. This bit is impressive, very visually stunning and it does look like you are in space with twinkly stars everywhere. The voice goes on about stars, how they are born and when they die and explode they turn into supernovas, which is a mixture of elements. Life itself is believed to have arisen from a supernova. Gold is also formed in these supernovas and that is why gold is so valuable, the voice told us. This was something I didn’t know and made a mental note to stock up on gold as soon as I went home!
We also heard about the sun and how hot it is there, very hot I think they said, so we put on our solar shield. The dark spots we could see on the sun are the “cooler” spots and these are all much bigger than the planet Earth which gives one an idea about the magnitude of the entire sun compared to Earth – Massive! Also about Black Holes we could not go into it (in the imaginary rocket) as it would have been too dangerous (understatement) but a probe was launched into it, we got no info on this sad to say as the probe disappeared, just as well we didn’t go in then. Disappointing but not unexpected, the voice said this was one area that scientists were still trying to check out and it was still a big mystery inside there. Oh well, maybe next time. The point of no return at the edge of the Black Hole is called the event horizon and we were careful not to wander too close to this, as we did not want to get sucked in forever.
Then came the wormholes, which was slightly more exploratory, a shortcut through space. This was a very twisty route, which made me feel slightly queasy, lots of squiggles and meandering later we are back where we started. Not much more happens after this, we are headin
g back to Mars and this is where it ends. I mistakenly think we are going here to explore but no this is where we started our journey from at the beginning and this is where we are stopping.
I am quite disappointed about this as I feel we have really only started our journey and there is a lot more to explore. But this is the end of the show are after only 15 to 20 minutes and my boyfriend and I are quite disappointed that it was so short. The show could have been so much more informative and comprehensive by encompassing all the planets and by increasing the show time by at least another 10 minutes.
It is not fair to give the public such a short show when there is such potential here to really thrill and inform an audience. In my opinion it was only half a show, a good half all right but there’s a lot missing. It is very educational and probably more entertaining for children especially those who have not heard much about space or planets before.
So, it’s a tricky question but I do recommend seeing it if you know little about the planets or you have kids, but there are better things to see in London and this is not really a must see, but worth a look if you have time.