Unfortunately, all those fascinating pieces of information we are so eager to tell our viewers are far less fascinating to most of them than to us. After all, we’ve decided to work at a planetarium for a reason. This is exactly why we shouldn’t hope that viewers will remember all the science facts we present to them and treat them as important information. Rather, we should always be careful not to overload the stories we’re telling in the planetarium with facts, and we should prioritize the main narrative arc throughout the show. Otherwise, we may easily end up creating a show that is absolutely intriguing – but only to the presenter narrating it.
Everything shown on the dome must be appealing and visually gratifying. If we neglect this, viewers will get annoyed – not because they don’t like what they see, but because most of them will be comparing what they see on the dome to what they’re used to. And what they’re used to is the quality they know from the recent pop-culture blockbusters – the bright and sharp images they see in IMAX venues, animations akin to those produced by Pixar, special effects like the ones in the film Interstellar, and textures on a par with those seen in top computer games. We know very well that the bar is set quite high, compared to the technologies and budgets we have at our disposal. In a planetarium, this level of viewer experience is almost unattainable. Unfortunately, viewers aren’t aware of this, and they will notice every shortcoming. As show creators, however, we shouldn’t take offense. Instead, we need to be aware of this and strive hard to present only shows what viewers do not regard as deficient. All of this, taken together, might seem to indicate that our work at planetariums is doomed to fail. But in fact, the contrary is true.