“Out of this world” news for astronomy buffs, especially those living in the New York and New Jersey area—last Saturday saw the opening of the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium and LSC Giant Dome Theater, the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, in Jersey City.
Located in the Liberty Science Center, the new feature is the fourth largest planetarium in the world (after two that are in Japan and one in China). It has an 89-foot full dome, a screen with 88 million pixels and a lighting system which can create an unbelievable 281 trillion individual colors. Using the Digistar 6 system, its website boasts some of the best technology on the planet for checking out the rest of our universe.
Its opening was the world premiere of the 45 minute film Wonders of the Universe, which uses images of the cosmos from such diverse sources as land-based telescopes, the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA space probes. It also provides information about some of the newest advancements in astronomy and science, as well as a guided tour of the distant Orion Nebula, which is more than 1,300 light years from our planet.
If you want to keep things a bit closer to home, then you can check out
To Worlds Beyond: Journey Through the Solar System. Using information from robotic probes, the dome will display a stunning tour of the other planets and moons that orbit our sun, including the huge mountains of Mars and the methane geysers of Triton. Afterwards there will be a live presentation where viewers will learn how to spot where the planets are in the sky that night. (Here is a trailer.)
But this new attraction need not focus solely on astronomy. If you have some more sublunary interests, you can also see Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas, which examines the Nimitz-class carrier undergoing the RIMPAC training exercise, or Mysteries of China, about the archaeological research into the founding of one of the world’s oldest nations.
There is also the 40 minute Laser Wonderland show for the winter season, where families can enjoy some spectacular colors while listening to music from such masters as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Eurythmics and the Vince Guaraldi Trio.