Trek to the stars

Been to the newly renovated Zeiss Planetarium yet? It reopened at the tail-end of summer and with the weather taking a real dive, now may be the perfect time to look up – to the stars. Just polish up on your Kosmonautendeutsch.

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At the newly renovated Zeiss Planetarium, every show begins with a rousing overture of classical music as the moon rises and sets in a field of 3500 stars. These stars are really just small streams of light projected onto a giant, 23-metre dome, but as you recline your seat and stare at the simulated sky, you start wondering: Why are we here? Are we alone in the universe?

And, if you don’t speak German: What the hell are they saying?

Yes, the two-year, €12.8 million makeover of the futuristic, GDR-era sphere on Prenzlauer Allee included a metal screen laser-perforated to form a perfect dome and a state-of-the-art HD projector to display the stars that were previously poked out by hand, but no English subtitles. An app with simultaneous translation should be available this month, so bring your cell fully charged and a pair of headphones.

Or skip the comprehensive galaxy tour (€8/6 reduced) for the rockin’ laser show “Queen Heaven” (€9.50/7.50). With a movie theatre and restaurant (menu by “star chef” Tim Raue) to open this winter, the latest incarnation of the planetarium hopes to be more of a cultural centre than a grade school field trip destination – maybe even a place you’d bring a date. Which might be why the new credo is “to teach AND entertain”, although we’re still unsure of how Queen fulfils either.