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Planetarium launched “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity”

January 24, 2011

By Hailey Silvey, Staff Writer

Starting January 14, the O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium started its latest show, entitled “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity.” The show will run every Friday night from January 14 to February 25, excluding February 4. The show was produced by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Actor Liam Neeson narrates the show.

The idea of the show is to illustrate how black holes are formed. The show also depicts what would happen if you were to approach the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Steve Morgan, planetarium director and instructor of astronomy, says “the show does a very good job of visualizing something that is very hard to wrap your mind around.”

“Black Holes” was created using supercomputers. The supercomputers to demonstrate what would really happen if a person were to approach a black hole. Einstein’s equations were also used in the production. The show is very educational and scientifically based. The supercomputers were also used to help give the show a 3D feel.

A total of 10 computers were used throughout the screening. Eight of the computers are used to enhance digital perspective. The other two computers operate the Chronos machine, which displays images of the night sky. Though the Chronos is not used in the black hole show, it is used afterward in the tour of the night sky. Six projectors that are located around the edge of the room are used to project the show onto the ceiling. Morgan says, “the computer graphics and projectors make the show more exciting and educational.”

At the first viewing of the show every seat was filled. Morgan says that so far, the audiences seemed to have really enjoyed the experience. The show begins at 8:00 on Friday nights, and lasts just under 30 minutes. Afterwards, Morgan uses the Chronos machine to give an explanation of the night sky, lasting around 15 minutes. Morgan says he tries to keep the show under an hour. If the night is clear, the observatory at Brasstown Valley Resort will be open so the audience can go up there and look at the night sky.

“Black Holes” will be running until February 25. Admission is three dollars for adults, two dollars for students, and free for students with a YHC ID.

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