Mueller Planetarium to explore Earth's cosmic origins in new fulldome show

Released on 03/25/2009, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., March 25th, 2009 —

Four hundred years ago, Galileo first observed the sky with a new instrument, the telescope, and started a revolution in thinking about our place in the universe. Today, astronomers are still driven by the desire to better understand our cosmic origins.

Beginning April 2, the new fulldome planetarium show, "In Search of our Cosmic Origins," will be shown at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Mueller Planetarium Thursdays at 7 p.m. The show guides viewers on two interwoven journeys through the early universe and through the Chilean desert to discover how astronomers are continuing Galileo's quest to make sense of our place in the cosmos.

"In Search of Our Cosmic Origins," presented in the immersive fulldome format, centers on the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) project in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The ALMA is a grandiose telescope capable of probing the darkest regions of the universe and is arguably the largest astronomical project in existence. Audiences are taken back in time through some of the most distant galaxies and lead through the modern world of astronomy to learn how the ALMA is helping us answer questions about our mysterious beginnings on Earth. Running time is 30 minutes.

Jack Dunn, planetarium coordinator, said the show offers some remarkable visuals and an artistic style that sets it apart from past fulldome shows. "The giant robotic radio telescopes moving about a valley in Chile are spectacular to witness," he said.

Produced by the Association of French-speaking Planetariums (APLF) with computer graphics by Mirage 3D of the Netherlands, this show (which is in English) is truly an international production. It was created through collaboration by the APLF and the European Southern Observatory as part of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, which is a year-long celebration of the contributions of Galileo and the efforts of modern astronomers to probe the history of the Universe.

The show is made possible by a gift from the Friends of the University of Nebraska State Museum and will be followed by an optional short survey of the current night sky.

Mueller Planetarium is in the University of Nebraska State Museum (Morrill Hall), south of 14th and Vine streets on the UNL City Campus. Tickets to planetarium shows include admission to the museum. Prices are $8 for adults, $5.50 for children age 5-18, and $2.50 for children 4 and under. For members of the Friends of NU State Museum with membership cards, tickets are $2.50 for adults and $2 for children. Tickets for UNL faculty, staff and students and immediate family are $3 (with valid UNL ID). Tickets are sold at the museum front desk the day of the show. For more information on planetarium shows, astronomy and space science, visit For more information on the museum, visit

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