Have been having a fairly relaxing and fun school break so far. I made the mistake (or maybe not) of going through my pictures folder and realized that not only did I slack off in doing what I intended to do with this journal last year but I haphazardly posted some of the photo spreads meant for this journal only to Facebook (for shame!).
I love you LJ. Sorry I neglected you!
In an attempt to right those wrongs, I am going to update this journal with some of those spreads (which go back to late summer of last year) before I get too wound up with this coming semester to have the time or impetus.
First off, Hayden Planetarium- Rose Center for Earth and Space. Living literally across the park from this gem, it's shameful that it took me 7 years or so to make a real trip to it. I had been to it many times when I was younger but it has since been renovated and redone thanks in large part to it's most awesome director.
The Planetarium is actually a tiny part of the American Museum of Natural History and I was a bit shocked at how tiny it actually is. Remembering it from when I was younger, it seemed so much larger. But then, most things seem larger than life when we are small versions of ourselves.
Realizing that there was not much else to see other than the timeline and the side rooms, I took in the current show in the domed theater (etched in my memories as the former place of those trippy laser light shows in the 1990s...) which was a 45 minute engrossing spectacle all about the birth and death of the universe and stars/ Synopsis here:
More than 13 billion years ago there was only an invisible substance called dark matter, along with hydrogen and helium gas. The stars that formed quickly exploded in supernovas, blasting out new elements, the raw materials for building new stars and planets. The gravity of dark matter collected gas into galaxies– including our own Milky Way. Moving forward to about 4.5 billion years ago, we see a tightly packed group of stars, called a star cluster, in which stars of many different masses and colors are formed, including our Sun. The most massive stars lived only briefly, and exploded in gigantic supernovas. Less massive stars were flung out of the cluster—some, like our Sun, with planets already formed and orbiting around them.
We move on our present day Sun to see how stars work – from its outer layer where a million-degree corona blasts out a solar wind, to its core where atomic nuclei fuse together to release immense amounts of energy. Jumping to the future, five billion years from now, our Sun at the end of its life expands into a red giant and sheds its outer layers, leaving a white dwarf, the hot dense remnant of the Sun’s core.
Returning to the present, we explore stars in our galactic backyard that are going through all these processes now—being born, ejected from star clusters, slowly dying, and shedding matter that may someday form other stars and planets. A short trip back home shows us the familiar night sky, and the morning light of the rising Sun reveals what stars have made possible.
Only drawback (or maybe it was a plus actually) is that it was narrated by Whoopi Goldberg (yes, really). I will never be able to think of nuclear fission,fusion and dark matter again without hearing Whoopi crooning in my ears.
Having some time and energy left after that, headed into the adjoining museum to visit my favorite two areas, the deep sea room (so much love for this room) and the most often absurd natural dioramas that the museum is so famous for.
And with that, full of visions of dark matter, meteorites, planets, bugs, tentacles and various other oddities, walked back home through Central Park on an absolutely disgusting and very humid late August day in 2009.