At the heart of the Rose Center for Earth and Space is an 87-foot-diameter sphere that appears to float inside a glass cube. Its upper half constitutes the Hayden Planetarium, which opened in 2000 along with the Rose Center for Earth and Space. It remains an enduring beacon of astrophysical education, as was its predecessor, which opened in 1935.
The 429-seat Space Theater, which features a custom-made Zeiss Mark IX Star Projector and a Digital Dome Projection System to display a hyperrealistic view of the planets, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies, uses a scientifically accurate 3D map of the observable universe based on millions of astronomical observations. Known as the Digital Universe Atlas, this map of the cosmos is maintained by a team of Museum scientists and visualization experts in collaboration with colleagues from organizations such as NASA. The Digital Universe Atlas also provides the foundation for the Museum’s Space Shows, which are screened in the Space Theater.