Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 14:35 EDT

Travel A Billion Light-Years and Back In the Newest Space Adventure at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium

April 23, 2012

CHICAGO, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On May 25, 2012, take a mind-blowing tour of the Universe like no other at the Adler Planetarium. Welcome to the Universe is the next adventure departing from the Grainger Sky Theater, the most technologically advanced theater in the world. In Welcome to the Universe, audiences travel a billion light-years and back flying through space, orbiting the Moon, zooming into a canyon on Mars, and soaring through the cosmic web where a million galaxies shower down on them. Then it’s back to Earth, traveling faster than the speed of light in the most immersive space experience ever created. Welcome to the Universe will run daily through May 3, 2013.

(Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120423/DC92798)

In Welcome to the Universe, visitors become space adventurers and set off on a journey to discover our Universe in a way never done before. The live, guided tour of the Universe is presented in the transformed Grainger Sky Theater, which was designed with leading-edge technologies that enable the visitors to explore space as if they were there.

Welcome to the Universe was created utilizing real telescopic data and the best scientific imagery presented with a stunning level of realism. The Grainger Sky Theater offers the largest single, seamless digital image in the world with an ultra high definition screen resolution of more than 8k x 8k pixels. The on-screen visuals expand beyond the traditional 180-degree dome and surround the visitor creating an immersive space experience.

“This new adventure gives us the opportunity to showcase what our state-of-the-art theater can do,” said Adler President Paul Knappenberger Jr., PhD. “The Grainger Sky Theater is not just a theater, it is a space simulation environment that has the ability to view the Universe from any time, place or distance. The Adler is the only place in the world where audiences can have this one-of-a-kind, experience.”

Welcome to the Universe begins with a survey of the night sky, zooming out into space to observe the surface of the dynamic planet Earth. Using current satellite data, the show’s tour guide will zoom back into several places on Earth that are experiencing dramatic environmental activity such as a forest fire, an active volcano, or unique cloud formations. Then it’s off for a tour of the rest of the Solar System and beyond! Discover the achievements – and limitations – humans have experienced in space exploration. Along the way, there are stops at familiar exploration milestones – from the International Space Station where humans continue to explore and monitor the Earth; to the Moon, the farthest place humans have traveled; to Mars, the current focus of robotic exploration. Telescopes enable scientists to see billions of light-years away, and new visualizations based on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey – the largest map of the Universe – allows the audience to see the newest, most accurate and realistic positioning of galaxies that exist as they travel deeper and deeper into space.

Welcome to the Universe invites visitors to virtually fly into natural phenomena, such as the recent Red Sea volcano, and experience a close-up view of how climate change is affecting our planet,” said Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D., Adler astronomer and show creator. “Up-to-the-minute scientific data about everything from earthquakes to tsunamis will be examined as they occur and will be part of the show. Anything that happens in the Universe is a possible focus. Nothing is off limits.”

The show, which will be updated weekly as the newest data becomes available, provides Adler visitors with an exclusive, first look at changes occurring in Earth and space science.

SubbaRao, who also serves as the director of the Adler’s Space Visualization Lab, was a member and builder of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He utilized data from that groundbreaking project to create the unique, breathtaking visualizations in Welcome to the Universe.

“The public has seen maps and images of space before, but the Grainger Sky Theater’s fly-through technology sets the stage for a unique experience that will change as the scientific data changes,” according to SubbaRao. “Much like the Universe, the show will constantly evolve.”

The awesome journey continues as the audience soars through the Pleiades and M3 star clusters on their way out of the galaxy. The breathtaking Milky Way occupies the full screen and then fades away into the distance. The Universe is so vast that the Milky Way soon appears as a small white dot among dozens of other galaxies. As the focus becomes even broader, the audience catches a glimpse of part of the super structure that spans the entire Universe – a cosmic web of a million galaxies. It is the skeleton of the Universe. As they begin to contemplate their place in the Universe, a moment of utter awe overtakes the audience. There is a pause before a million galaxies shower down on the audience as they travel a billion light-years back to Earth, moving faster than the speed of light. This is awesome. This is your journey. Welcome to the Universe!

The Adler Planetarium gratefully acknowledges The Grainger Foundation for its leadership in transforming the historic Sky Theater.

    Monday - Friday                    9:30 am - 4:00
    Saturday and Sunday                9:30 am - 4:30
    Memorial Weekend extended hours    9:30 am - 5:00
     -May 25-28                        pm
    Extended Summer Hours: June 1 -    9:30 am - 6:00
     September 3                       pm
    Closed Thanksgiving and
     Christmas Day

The Welcome to the Universe Pass includes general admission, Welcome to the Universe, an additional show and the Atwood Experience. Adults $28; Child (ages 3 – 11) $22. General admission (not including shows) is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for children ages 3-11. Chicago residents receive a $2 discount on adult admission packages and a $3 discount on child admission packages with proof of residency. Prices are subject to change.

The Adler Planetarium does not offer advance ticket sales. Show and exhibition tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis at the Adler box office. Visit www.adlerplanetarium.org or call 312.922.STAR for more information.

About the Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium – America’s First Planetarium – was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people – particularly women and minorities – to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers.

Location and Travel Information
The Adler Planetarium is located at 1300 South Lake Shore Drive on the shores of Lake Michigan on Chicago’s beautiful Museum Campus. Exit Lake Shore Drive at 18th Drive, continue north on Museum Campus Drive. Then veer right onto Solidarity Drive. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Adler for $19. Check www.soldierfieldparking.com for information about large Museum Campus events that may impact parking availability. The Adler is serviced daily by CTA #146 bus. Metra Electric and South Shore trains stop at nearby Roosevelt Road station. CTA Red, Green and Orange lines are approximately a one-mile walk from the Museum Campus.

SOURCE Adler Planetarium

Source: PR Newswire