April 12, 2019 8:00 am
Updated: April 12, 2019 10:12 pm

New made-in-Edmonton planetarium feature explores Indigenous perspectives on the night sky

WATCH ABOVE: It's been decades since Edmonton's Telus World of Science has produced its own feature for its planetarium big screen. As Margeaux Maron reports, a the high-tech theatre is now showing a film about the earliest stories of science from right here in Canada.


It’s been three decades since Edmonton’s Telus World of Science has produced its own feature for the Zeidler Dome planetarium screen, and now the high-tech theatre is telling the earliest stories of science observation from right here in Canada.

“Throughout the world, everybody went outside and looked up at the night sky,” said Wilfred Buck, who is a content expert for the new film Legends of the Northern Sky.

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The 22-minute show explores First Nations storytelling on how constellations in the night sky came to be.

“This comes from thousands and thousands of years of knowledge that their people hold,” Buck said.

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Ancient cultures around the world studied the night sky, and the patterns they observed are some of the earliest examples of science in action. Those patterns told Indigenous communities when to plant seeds, when to migrate or how to find their way home.

“It’s a story that hasn’t really been told too well in planetariums across Canada,” said the Telus World of Science’s Frank Florian.

The made-in-Edmonton film is told with incredible effect, with producers taking advantage of 180 degrees of screen.

“To be able to use the entire dome to your advantage, being able to have birds flying all around you instead of just in front of you — coming at you — this now totally envelopes the audience in the particular scenes,” Florian said.

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Florian helped write the film and said he was surprised by how people from around the world saw the same things in the stars over the millennia.

“One thing that you do get to see when you start to embrace all these cultures and their stories of night sky, is that there’s a lot of similarities among communities from around the world from different cultures,” Florian said.

Legends of the Northern Sky is now open to the public at the Telus World of Science’s Zeidler Dome.

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