Star show at Academy of Sciences inspires connections

by Ryder W. Miller

For those looking for a connection with others during the sometimes lonely holiday months, exploring the cosmos at the Academy of Sciences new Morrison Planetarium show "Voyage to the Stars" might be the answer.

Recently celebrating its one year anniversary, the Morrison Planetarium is showcasing its second astronomy show, this one produced by The American Museum of Natural History. Whoopi Goldberg provides the narration for the star show about our sun and the many other stars that can be found in the vast universe.

The inspirational show contains an inherent message of our shared cosmic connection. The show points out that we are all made of, as the late astronomer Carl Sagan said, "star stuff."

According to Sagan, "star stuff," is the many chemicals and compounds that are birthed in stars.

The sun, like other stars, is in a constant state of nuclear chain reactions. It is so hot that it can facilitate a place for liquid water and carbon-based life forms more than 90 billion miles away.

Astronomy reminds us that we are all of the same species, we are all from the same planet, and we all live on a very special planet.

Humans share a cosmic connection and the Academy's new show demonstrates the need to better understand the greater cosmos. For instance, there could be dangerous asteroids possibly on the way and there could also be future "sun storms" that could reach the Earth.

"Voyage to the Stars" opened in September and can now be seen during the day and weekends. It is the premier show at the Morrison Planetarium and should be showing at least through the holiday season.

The "Fragile Planet" star show, the first sky shown at the Morrison Planetarium, now only airs during Academy of Science Nightlife events.

The shows are free with regular admission to the California Academy of Sciences.

Show times for "Voyage to the Stars" are:

Monday - Friday: Every hour on the half hour, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.;

Saturdays: Every 45 minutes, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.;

Sundays: Every 45 minutes, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., with the 10:30 a.m. show exclusively for Academy members.

The primary sponsors and creative motivators behind the new show are Ryan Wyatt, director of the Morrison Planetarium; Dr. Chris Andrews, chief of public engagement at the Academy; Tom Kennedy, Morrison Planetarium producer; and Dr. Tom Abel, associate professor of physics at Stanford University (contributor of data and visualizations).

For more information about the Morrison Planetarium, go to the Web site at www.calacademy.org/academy/exhibits/planetarium.