Premier of “Fractal Explorations” is August 29 at Zacheis Planetarium


Pictured, an example of a fractal.

Pictured, an example of a fractal.

The Adams State University Zacheis Planetarium will premiere a free movie, "Fractal Explorations," Saturday, August 29. Dr. Robert Astalos, professor of physics and director of the planetarium, recently published the full-dome movie and is releasing the show across the nation to planetariums. Show times are at 7 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets will be handed out for this free premiere.

Astalos began creating "Fractal Explorations" during his sabbatical in fall 2014 semester. The movie, intended for full-dome planetariums explores the complex arithmetic which goes into fractals. "I want to get students excited about math." Astalos hired David Boncyk, theater major, to do the narration, and Dr. Matthew Schildt, professor of music, composed one piece for a portion of the movie.

Fractals are a relatively new branch of mathematics which blossomed after the advent of computers. "Fractals are not just an obscure branch of mathematics. It has shown how very complex structures can be built using simple rules applied repeatedly," Astalos said. He used free software, available to anyone, to create the movie.

Mountains, coastlines, trees, and clouds all have fractal characteristics. "Fractals really are the crossroad of science and art," Astalos added.

The first showing of "Fractal Explorations" will start at 7 p.m. with two other showing that same evening, 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. There will be breaks between movies to allow visitors to go in and out of the theater.

The show is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6:30. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

To check out a preview of "Fractal Explorations."

For more about Zacheis Planetarium and read the fall semester movie line-up, visit Zacheis Planetarium.