At Wayne State University’s Old Main building, Jupiter Jake, the attendant commencing the cosmic journey from the comfort of a stationary chair, sent students off into the stars on Feb. 7. The journey includes a star-spangled presentation of the Earth’s solar system, and beyond.
Overhead lights subdued to a temporary darkness, likening the pitch of a dimmed theater, the planetarium dome slowly emanated a translucent purple glow that saturated the room — adding a spectral ambiance for the show.
Jupiter Jake asks that viewers do not have their phones on when coming to the show.
Known by his childhood librarian as “Jupiter Jake”, the real Jake— Jake Miller— shares his passion in his presentation of the Earth’s solar system. He guides the attendees millions of miles starting with Mercury and ending far beyond Neptune, reaching near, the now defunct, Pluto and to the celestial outer-reaches of the Andromeda galaxy. Miller speaks of the “heavens” as an extraterrestrial breeding ground for human imagination, where ancient star gazers entertained unconventional theories, and whose scientific groundwork birthed new generations of astronomers and astrophysicists.
Miller compares each planet on a linear scale, showing the mass of each in relation to the others and revealed the immensity of the sun as the ultimate scale. The sun dwarfed each planet, and Miller maps Jupiter, the largest of the planets, as diminutive in comparison.
The planetarium showing ended with a quick video describing the significance of telescopes marking the differences between refractor and reflector telescopes and talks on early pioneers of astronomy like Galileo.
The WSU Planetarium is located in room 0209 in Old Main. Miller will host presentations three Friday evenings per month at 7 p.m.