Planetarium is first to show 'Natural Selection'

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Mueller Planetarium is the first venue in the United States to show "Natural Selection," a fulldome format show that features the ideas of English naturalist Charles Darwin.

The planetarium hosted the U.S. premier of the show on June 1. Only nine other planetariums around the world offer "Natural Selection." Until later in the summer, Mueller Planetarium is the only venue offering the show in the United States.

Jack Dunn, planetarium coordinator, was able to land the U.S. premier through a professional friendship with Robin Sipp, owner of the Netherlands-based Mirage 3D which created "Natural Selection."

"I've gotten to know Robin through planetarium meetings over quite a few years," said Dunn. "When he told me about his 'Natural Selection' project, I knew this was something we needed to show here in Mueller Planetarium.

"To me, the really cool thing is that it really shows not only the beauty of nature, but that scientific discovery is exciting."

"Natural Selection" offers an inside look on Darwin's adventures -- including his global sojourn aboard the H.M.S. Beagle and the natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands. The show features striking imagery of natural scenery and creatures from the ocean to the land.

"The show explains how natural selection works, how Darwin discovered the idea and the questions he asked along the way," Dunn said.

Dunn is also excited that the show expands the planetarium's regular range beyond star shows and space related offerings.

"'Natural Selection' has helped support our role in the museum by showing science as beautiful and exciting," Dunn said. "Showing something like this doesn't mean we will ever go completely away from astronomy - the roots of the theater - but I'm happy to be able to present a program that uses immersive fulldome technology at is best to showcase diversity in nature."

"Natural Selection" shows at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays and 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Running time is 41 minutes. The show is made possible by a gift of the Friends of the University of Nebraska State Museum.

Other planetarium shows offered (through Aug. 1) are "Earth, Moon and Sun" (2 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday; 3 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday); and "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket" (6 p.m., Thursdays).

Admission to the University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall is free for faculty, staff, students and immediate family (with a valid NCard). Planetarium show admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children.

For more information on the museum and planetarium, go to

- By Dana Ludvik, University of Nebraska State Museum

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