Let’s face it: we’ve all looked out into the night sky and wondered what it would be like to travel up there. Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut as a kid, or perhaps the feeling struck you one night while you were walking alone. Regardless of when or how you’ve wondered about the infinite possibilities of the cosmos, we guarantee that a trip to Library Science Center’s new planetarium will fill you with wonder and joy: opened to the public on December 9, it is the single largest planetarium on this side of the prime meridian.
The planetarium, named the Jennifer Chastly Planetarium, is absolutely massive. So massive, in fact that it could house the entirety of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium inside of it — with room to spare no less. The purpose of such a big screen isn’t to outdo the Hayden: it’s to better approximate the feeling of looking up into the night sky. The screen is meant to completely take over your visual field and make you feel as though you are traveling through space.
The Planetarium itself is made from the bones of the Liberty Science Center’s old IMAX theater. With the relative downtrend in films being shot on IMAX, the museum thought it would try something a little different. The inside of the theater was completely gutted and decked out with an 89-foot full-dome comprised of 588 individual tiles for a total of 12,349 square feet. But that’s not all: the 10 projectors covering the area of the screen have over 88 million pixels that can produce 281 trillion different colors.
The Planetarium also plans to hold live shows where audience members can ask questions to actual scientists and receive real-time answers accompanied by appropriate visuals on the screen. This is all possible because the theater is more than just big, it’s advanced too. The Planetarium has servers that can download visuals directly from satellites and display them almost instantly. These servers also allow the planetarium to zoom in on Saturn’s rings or the moons of Jupiter in almost unprecedented detail.
For more information and to plan your visit to the cosmos, click here.