San Diego Museum Offers Up Close And Personal Look At Black Holes
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Aired 2/1/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Mary Dussault, Instructional Systems Specialist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Dr. Jeffrey Kirsch, Executive Director, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
A $5-million projection system recently installed at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s planetarium will allow visitors to view the skies as if they are in space.
The system will get its first chance to show off its capabilities when a new show about black holes opens Saturday.
“BLACK HOLES: The Other Side of Infinity” will be the first completely digital show at the center’s planetarium, Jeffrey Kirsch told KPBS television’s Evening Edition. He is the executive director of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Kirsh said the entirely digital show means bright stars will appear right away, unlike in traditional planetariums where visitors’ eyes must adjust before they can see stars.
“This gives you a totally different way of appreciating particularly geometric objects and things that have enormous size or very small size,” he said.
Kirsh said it can be hard to comprehend giant entities like galaxies, universes and black holes.
“The goal of the planetarium is to give you that feeling for it, because that’s what excites not only lay people, but also scientists,” he said. “These things are so different and so imposing that you’re able to see truly a revolution in physics that has emerged in the last century, and the new century is going to be something even bigger and better.”
Mary Dussault, the instructional systems specialist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said Einstein predicted black holes before evidence of them was ever discovered.
“Now astronomers are finding them everywhere,” she said. “They teach us a lot about the nature of gravity and nature of space and time because they’re such extreme objects.”
Dussault added that the planetarium shows will complement the science center’s exhibit on black holes, which will make visitors into black holes explorers.