By Carol Tannenhauser
A new space show is opening at the Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium on January 21st.
Worlds Beyond Earth is narrated by academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o, and projected onto the vast, domed screen of the Hayden Planetarium by the most sophisticated planetarium projection system in the world. Installed last year and utilized for the first time in this show, it allows visitors “to experience as never before both the darkness of outer space and the most colorful worlds in our solar system,” according to the Museum.
WSR attended a preview of Worlds Beyond Earth and will say it was extraordinary, but offer few details, for fear of spoiling your own “immersive experience,” as the show’s curator, Denton Ebel, called it. Suffice it to say, you will travel through our solar system on the space missions of the last 50 years, amid “scientific visualizations” based on images and data sent back from the moon landing and by robotic spacecraft.
“Our ability to render these distant worlds is nothing short of astonishing, thanks to past and current space missions and the data they provide,” said Carter Emmart, the Museum’s director of astrovisualization and the director of Worlds Beyond Earth. “We’re not making anything up here. The height, color, and shapes we see come from actual measurements. In the space show, you see these beautiful objects as they actually are, to the best of our abilities.”
From the dusty surface of Mars to the scalding surface of Venus, through the rings of Saturn to the moons of Jupiter, to the Big Bang that created it all, it is a transfixing show. In the end it brings us back home, and, “in Goldilocks terms,” said Museum President Ellen V. Futter, “to an appreciation of the exquisite and unique blend of conditions that, at present at least, are not too hot like Venus, and not too cold like Mars, but just right to support Earth.”
“Let’s not mess it up,” she added.
Member Preview Days for Worlds Beyond Earth begin January 18 through January 20. Tickets are available for members of the Museum starting Monday, January 13, by calling Central Reservations at 212-769-5200, during business hours or by visiting a Membership desk at the Museum. Please note that same-day tickets will also be available at all Membership desks. The show runs for 25 minutes.
For further information or to buy tickets, click here.
Photographs courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History.