Washington, August 21 (ANI): High-performance computing systems, visualization resources, and software tools provided by the National Science Foundation TeraGrid helped make the Hayden Planetarium's new space show the most scientifically accurate and advanced planetarium show ever produced.
The Hayden Planetarium is a public planetarium located on Central Park West, New York City, next to and organizationally part of the American Museum of Natural History.
"Journey to the Stars," which debuted this summer at the American Museum of Natural History, is being hailed as the most beautiful planetarium show to date.
Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the 25-minute presentation takes viewers on a journey through the universe.
The space show projects cutting-edge visualizations of the universe onto the 87-foot, seven-million-pixel dome of the museum's Hayden Sphere at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.
Piecing together a new narrative of life's origins, the space show explains how dark matter's gravity gathered the primordial gas in the universe to form the first stars, and how these massive stars exploded, seeding the galaxy with new stars and the chemical elements that made life possible.
The centerpiece of the show, and the most difficult sequence to depict scientifically, is a flight into the center of the Sun.
The visuals of the Sun were produced using supercomputing resources provided by the NSF TeraGrid, a national cyberinfrastructure for open scientific research.
According to Ro Kinzler, the show's producer, "We wanted to treat the Sun in a terrific and powerful way to [not just] reveal the surface, but to take our audience into the Sun, through the convective layer and into the core."
"The results are beautiful. No one has seen the Sun in this way, and the software from NCAR and computational resources from TACC made it possible," he said.
The visual sequences are based on the research of Juri Toomre, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and run on TACC's Ranger supercomputer.
"It's not enough to know what comes out of the surface," Toomre said.
"We would like to understand how the magnetic engine of a star works, how it churns away and how it builds orderly fields. This is one of the top 10 questions in physics," Toomre added.
"A very dramatic moment in the show is when we actually peel away the surface of the Sun, revealing the dynamic convective motion below," Kinzler said. "We take the audience through the convective region and into the Sun's core," he added. (ANI)