What tastes like raspberries and smells like rum?


Ordinarily, overcast weather wouldn’t bode well for stargazing. But the Angel Hall Open House didn’t hinge on clear skies. With access to the observatory and planetarium, there was much to see and learn on the evening of Oct. 5. The event was completely free of charge, opening its doors to everyone. Community High senior Emily Lancaster walked in not knowing what to expect. What she found surprised her.

“I didn’t know the observatory even existed,” Lancaster said. “You can come and see things, and use the facilities, and learn about all the different technology they have here, and see the stars for free.”

The night offered observatory tours, planetarium shows and a galaxy themed mini lecture, all put on by the University of Michigan Student Astronomical Society. The tour guides took attendees through a special, red-lit hallway designed to help eye adjustment before going to the rooftop. There, they were shown inside the observatory and given the chance to look skyward. The clouds blocked the view, but there was another stargazing opportunity for attendees — the planetarium.

The roughly 45 minute show was galaxy themed, and included a special feature for the audience: relatability. Instead of going over convoluted aspects of astronomy, it was geared towards the curious.

“They made it really easy to understand,” Lancaster said. “They used a lot of metaphors, so you could visualize.”

Jokes were peppered in throughout the show, and the presenters included fun facts — like galactic dust tasting like raspberries and smelling like rum. The style was engaging, and left the audience with a lot to think about.

“It made me think of this thing we learned about in Philosophical Literature, the Fermi Paradox… if there’s aliens in the universe,” Lancaster said. “Being in the planetarium, you could see how big it was. I feel like there actually could be aliens, or something; we don’t know.”

After the planetarium show, there was a galactic mini lecture and sign up to join the Student Astronomical Society. But the night’s impact won’t end there for Lancaster.

“Whenever I look up at the sky, I can’t really see much because of all the light pollution, so I can only see like one or two stars, but oh my gosh,” Lancaster said. “There were so many stars. It really made me want to go to a dark park to see them all… it was so cool.”

The next open house will be held on Friday, Oct. 19 from 9–11 p.m.. It will be completely free and open to all — be sure to stop by, and click here for more information.