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Astronomy

Planetarium stars again after revamp

The Wall Street Journal
20 June 2011

In 1928, Max Adler, a Chicago philanthropist, visited a planetarium in Germany known as the "Wonder of Jena." Impressed by the technology, he returned home and built the Adler Planetarium, which opened on May 12, 1930.

More recently, supercomputers in Illinois and California have been running 24 hours a day to finish updating the Adler for one of the most data-intensive programs ever produced. This new show will feature digital images captured by spacecraft and space-based telescopes.

"The Adler is the oldest planetarium in the country and what we've done is make it once again the most advanced planetarium in the world," says Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., president of the 81-year-old Adler, who spearheaded the $14 million fund-raising drive that included $900,000 from the federal government and $750,000 from the state of Illinois.

Despite earlier projections and changes in plans, Doug Roberts, an astronomer and chief technology officer for the Adler, is confident the show will be ready by the July 8 opening.

"I compare it to landing an airplane while building the runway," says Roberts.

See the complete Wall Street Journal article.

Julieta Aguilera is the Interactive Visualization Developer at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum.