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It’s time for a trip to outer space

With advances in knowledge and technology, the planetarium experience is now cooler than ever

March 23, 2012

If you haven’t visited a planetarium lately, make it a priority.

Modern planetariums don’t just feature star shows any more. You can now see masterful visualizations of the entire universe, from Earth to the farthest reaches of cosmic radiation released by the Big Bang. The software behind these visualizations is updated constantly with astronomy’s newest findings, so that the map of the universe you see at a planetarium is basically the universe as we know it, in real time.

Though traveling through space from the comfort of a recliner is unequivocally very cool, Brian Abbott — who manages the Digital Universe Atlas software at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium in New York — explains how a present-day planetarium tour is also very accurate and very advanced.

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About the Author

Kelly Slivka finished up her B.A. in English and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, after which she traded amber waves of grain for actual waves of water. The past three years, she’s been stalking endangered whales on the East Coast for various conservation and research institutions, a profession that has given her plenty of fodder for fascinating science writing, but no feasible outlet. Now, through NYU’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program she’s moved on to stalking all things new and cool in science and sharing it with, well, everyone! You can learn more about Kelly on her website, www.kellyslivka.com, and follow her on Twitter @k_sliv.

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