The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum located in Chicago, Illinois (http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/) is America's first Planetarium. For about 75 years now, visiting the planetarium is a getaway to explore the universe without having to leave earth. Visitors of all ages to the planetarium will enjoy and experience numerous exhibits, state of the art computer technology, planetarium theaters, and a vast collection of astronomy artifacts. Visiting the main website of the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum allowed me to get a peek of what is in store once I actually visit the planetarium. The numerous exhibits it features, the theaters, and its artifacts all contributed to my eagerness to visit the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum.
In the main website, you may take a virtual tour of all of its exhibits. The top
three exhibits on my list are “Bringing the Heavens to Earth”, “Gateway to the Universe”
and “Universe in your Hands”. These are the three exhibits I would like most to see
once I visit the Adler.
In “Bringing the Heavens to Earth” exhibit, it traces back to the ancient times and its cultural astronomies of the world back then. The exhibit covers the Polynesians and how they use the stars to navigate and to the Egyptian pharaohs who seek guidance by looking at the stars. The “Gateway to the Universe” is exactly what it says. This exhibit allows you to experience how it would feel to be in space and what you would see. You can step into the realms of Earth-Moon system, Solar System, Milky Way, and the Universe. As for the “Universe in your Hands” exhibit, it covers the early tools of astronomy. You are able to see how science progressed in time. It really is amazing to see how simple curiosity and intellectual minds lead to the progression of understanding our universe.
The Adler Planetarium boasts two theaters, the Sky Theater and the StarRider. First, there’s the Sky Theater. This is a 68 foot dome where you can view a recreation of the night’s starry sky. Next, there is the newly built Sky Theater. It is the StarRider that I would really like to experience. This theater is an interactive theater. It is similar to how the aircraft flight simulators that the military and commercial pilots use. There are operating controls on the armrests, and as you view the awesome 3-D graphics, you are able to participate while you are watching. Currently, a show that’s playing in the StarRider theater that seems fun is the SonicVision. The main website describes this show as, “a groundbreaking digitally animated alternative music show. SonicVision takes audiences in the Adler Planetarium's StarRider Theater on a mind-warping musical roller-coaster ride through a fantastical dreamspace.”
The planetarium boasts an array of historical astronomical artifacts. This is a great place to visit if you would like to see where and how the science of astronomy started and progressed. There are more than 2500 rare books and about 2000 historic instruments. The Adler Planetarium has the largest collection of rare books and historic instruments in the Western Hemisphere. You are not only limited to reading and viewing the books and instruments, but you may also watch public programs that they offer at various dates and times. The Adler hosts programs relating to their collection and astronomy in general. Along with the programs, there are also lectures and some courses that go more into detail.
The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum is both an educational and fun place to visit for everyone. There’s something for everyone. There are interesting shows and exhibits as well as the high-tech theaters and a large historical collection. Learning and also having fun makes it worth it, and the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum offers that.