Florida on a Tankful: Not your father's planetarium

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 6:24 PM EDT

The tools of star-gazing have met their match.

"Do you want me to turn off all the lights?" asks Derek Demeter, the planetarium director at Seminole State College.

This isn't a class, though.

"It literally rains diamonds on Saturn. Rehana would probably like that. It's just how it is," Demeter said to a group from the community, each person leaning back with their heads pointed toward the domed ceiling above.

"You could float Saturn in a bathtub if you had a 200,000-mile-wide bathtub," Demeter said.

This is not your father's planetarium.

"A lot of planetariums focus on the technology, we do the opposite. We focus on the whole experience," Demeter said. "The idea, the show value, adding comedy to it — making it fun and not just bland and dry."

The planetarium director has a sense of humor that starts with the official name of Seminole State College's facility.

"'Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College' and try saying that five times fast," Demeter said.

The astronomer's love for the galaxy started at age 6 when he and his father attended a planetarium show at the Orlando Science Center. By age 13, he was volunteering at the center.

"There is a difference between cosmology and cosmetology, too," Demeter said. "One is hair and nails, the other is the study of our universe."

On Friday and Saturday nights, the Seminole State College planetarium is open to the public where Demeter is in his element. Not only are there live shows hosted by Demeter, there's also an opportunity to head outside and look through the telescopes at the moon, Mars and Saturn.

"We're here to get people excited and to relax and enjoy themselves," Demeter said. "How cool is that?"

Know Before You Go:  The 'Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College' will close for an annual hiatus after the May 20 show. The planetarium will reopen July 8 with a "Star Party." Visit for a live show and stay late as telescopes will be set up to look at the moon and several planets outside.

Get tickets and map of campus.  Doors open at 8:15 p.m., and each show begins promptly at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights from early July to late May.

Tankful on Television:
Catch Florida travel stories like the one above on Television four days a week across Central Florida. The award-winning Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais airs on News 13 Thursday through Sunday. See new segments in the Bay Area as well on Bay News 9. Stories air beginning at 6 a.m. on both channels as a Spectrum exclusive.