Friday, June 15, 2012

Hayden Planetarium Digital Universe Atlas

Hayden Planetarium Sphere, New York NY
 A remarkable free gift from Hayden Planetarium to all students of the Universe!

The Digital Universe, developed by the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium with support from NASA, incorporates data from dozens of organizations worldwide to create the most complete and accurate 3-D atlas of the Universe from the local solar neighbourhood out to the edge of the observable Universe.

In preparation for the reopening of the Hayden Planetarium in 2000, the American Museum of Natural History embarked on the creation of a 3-D astronomical atlas to provide a framework for teaching about the discoveries of modern astrophysics. While the Rose Center for Earth and Space was constructed outside the Museum, a digital model of the Universe was constructed inside.

The atlas grew out of a convergence of two great streams of technical achievement:
  • celestial map making, which incorporates centuries of observation and scientific breakthroughs, 
  • combined with hardware and software engineering, which enables sophisticated data visualization. 
As new data are gathered, and new tools developed, the Digital Universe will continue to expand, filling in more details of our Universe as our understanding evolves.

Digital Universe Guide for Partview
Brian Abbott
Hayden Planetarium
American Museum of Natural History
New York, NY USA

Significant educational and programming support
has been provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

About the Hayden Planetarium
The Hayden Planetarium opens in 1935, after its construction is funded by a $650,000 loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and a $150,000 donation from banker Charles Hayden. Its mission was to give the public "a more lively and sincere appreciation of the magnitude of the universe... and for the wonderful things which are daily occurring in the universe." On February 19 2000, the Rose Center for Earth and Space containing the new Hayden Planetarium, opens to the public.

The top half of the Hayden Sphere houses the Star Theater, which uses high-resolution fulldome video to project “space shows” based in scientific visualization of current astrophysical data, in addition to a customized Zeiss Star Projector system replicating an accurate night sky as seen from Earth.

The bottom half of the Sphere is home to the Big Bang Theater, which depicts the birth of the universe in a four-minute program.

As visitors leave the Planetarium theater, they exit to the Size Scales of the Universe exhibit which shows the vast array of sizes in the universe; the walkway itself is a timeline of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present. This exhibit leads to the Big Bang Theater and exits to the Cosmic Pathway, which shows the history of the universe.

From the bottom of the Cosmic Pathway, visitors can stop by the Hall of Planet Earth to explore geology, weather, plate tectonics and more, or go down to the Hall of the Universe to explore the realms of planets, stars, galaxies and more.

The Hayden Planetarium offers a number of courses and public presentations including the Frontiers of Astrophysics and Distinguished Authors lecture series.

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