Rose Center for Earth and Space

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The facade of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, with the massive Hayden Sphere Planetarium overlooking the entrance.
Rose Center for Earth and Space

The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a part of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Center's complete name is The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space. The main entrance is located on the northern side of the museum on 81st Street near Central Park West. Neil deGrasse Tyson is its first and current director.

History and construction[edit]

The center is an extensive reworking of the former Hayden Planetarium, whose first projector, dedicated in 1935, had 2 successors previous to the current one. The original Hayden Planetarium was founded in 1933 with a donation by philanthropist Charles Hayden. Opened in 1935,[1] it was demolished and replaced in 2000 by the $210 million Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space.

The Rose Center for Earth and Space, housed in a glass cube containing the spherical Space Theater, was designed by James Stewart Polshek.[2] Designed by Polshek and Todd Schliemann, the building consists of a six-story high glass cube enclosing a 87-foot (27 m) illuminated sphere that appears to float — although it is actually supported by truss work. Polshek has referred to this work as a "cosmic cathedral."[3] The Rose Center and its adjacent plaza, both located on the north facade of the Museum, are regarded as some of Manhattan's most outstanding recent architectural additions. The facility encloses 333,500 square feet (30,980 m2) of research, education, and exhibition space as well as the Hayden Planetarium. Also located in the facility is the Department of Astrophysics, the newest academic research department in the Museum. Further, Polshek designed the 1,800-square-foot (170 m2) Weston Pavilion, a 43-foot (13 m) high transparent structure of "water white" glass along the Museum's west facade. This structure, a small companion piece to the Rose Center, offers a new entry way to the Museum as well as opening further exhibition space for astronomically-related objects. The planetarium's former magazine, The Sky, merged with "The Telescope" to become the leading astronomy magazine. Sky & Telescope.[4]

The new building opened to the public on February 19, 2000, featuring a glass cube that encloses the 87-foot-diameter (27 m) Hayden Sphere. Its contents, designed by the AMNH Exhibitions Lab, focus on Earth's "place in space." The exhibits highlight human connection to the cosmos along with the scale and properties of the observable universe itself.

Tom Hanks provided the voice-over for the first planetarium show during the opening of the new Rose Center for Earth & Space in the Hayden Planetarium in 2000. Since then such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson and Maya Angelou have been featured. The Rose Center was designed by James Stewart Polshek and Todd H. Schliemann, Polshek Partnership Architects, and the exhibition design is by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

Current exhibits and shows[edit]

The top half of the Sphere houses the Space Theater, one of the world's pre-eminent planetariums, which incorporates high-resolution fulldome video to create "space shows," based in scientific visualization of current astrophysical data.The shows run every half hour from 10:30 to 4:30 except on the first Friday of the month. On that Friday the shows run from 10:30 to 7:30. Right outside the doors of the theater there is a flat-screen TV presentation that gives you a preview of what to expect once the show starts.

As of 2007, three shows have premiered in the theater. The first show, Passport to the Universe, opened with the new theater and features the voice of Tom Hanks as a guide along a voyage from Earth to the edge of the observable universe. The Search for Life: Are We Alone? debuted in 2002, with narration by Harrison Ford describing the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. Opened in 2006 and narrated by Robert Redford, Cosmic Collisions examines the role that impacts have played in shaping the universe—including visualizations of Earth's magnetosphere, the formation of the Moon, and the meteorite impact that contributed to the end of the age of dinosaurs. Journey to the Stars, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, premiered on Saturday, July 4, 2009, featuring extraordinary images from telescopes on the ground and in space and stunning, never-before-seen visualizations of physics-based simulations. "Dark Universe" narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson premiered on Saturday November 2, 2013.

The Big Bang Theater occupies the bottom half of the Hayden Sphere. Utilizing a screen that measures 36 feet in diameter over an 8-foot-deep (2.4 m) bowl, a four-minute program depicts the birth of the universe, with a voiceover by Liam Neeson. The Big Bang Theater serves as an introduction to the Heilbrun Cosmic Pathway, a spiral which wraps around the sphere, connecting the second and first floors of the Rose Center. The cosmic pathway provides a timeline of the universe's history from the Big Bang to the present day. The Heilbrun Cosmic Pathway is one of the most popular exhibits in the Rose Center, which opened February 19, 2000.[5]

Other exhibits can be found outside the sphere. The Gottesman Hall of the Planet Earth has displays that illustrate the Earth's geological history and weather patterns. The Cullman Hall of the Universe focuses on topics ranging from planets to stars, life on other worlds to current cosmology. The Scales of the Universe exhibit makes comparisons between the size of the Hayden Sphere and other objects in the universe presented at appropriate relative scale. There is also a photographic exhibit about the Apollo moon landings. The photographs are throughout the first floor level of the Rose Center.


External links[edit]

(All are within the Rose Center for Earth and Space)

Coordinates: 40°46′53.53″N 73°58′23.69″W / 40.7815361°N 73.9732472°W / 40.7815361; -73.9732472