Hayden Planetarium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Charles Hayden Planetarium in Boston, see Museum of Science, Boston.
Hayden Planetarium at night
Back to front: the Hayden Sphere, the Cosmic Pathway and the Scales of the Universe exhibit
Scales of the Universe exhibit

The Hayden Planetarium (often called "The Hayden Sphere" or "The Great Sphere") is a public planetarium, part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, currently directed by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Since February 2000, the planetarium has been one of the two main attractions within the Rose Center. The top half of the Hayden Sphere houses the Star Theater, which uses high-resolution fulldome video to project “space shows” based on scientific visualization of current astrophysical data, in addition to a customized Zeiss Star Projector system replicating an accurate night sky as seen from Earth. The bottom half of the Sphere is home to the Big Bang Theater, which depicts the birth of the universe in a four-minute program. As visitors leave the Planetarium theater, they exit to the Size Scales of the Universe exhibit which shows the vast array of sizes in the universe; the walkway itself is a timeline of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present. This exhibit leads to the Big Bang Theater and exits to the Cosmic Pathway, which shows the history of the universe. From the bottom of the Cosmic Pathway, visitors can stop by the Hall of Planet Earth to explore geology, weather, plate tectonics and more, or go down to the Hall of the Universe to explore the realms of planets, stars, galaxies and more.

The Hayden Planetarium offers a number of courses and public presentations including the Frontiers of Astrophysics and Distinguished Authors lecture series.

When the Hayden Planetarium reopened after renovation in 2000 with a model of only eight planets, excluding what was then called planet Pluto, it resulted in a headline-making controversy.[1]


Year Event
1935 The Hayden Planetarium, designed by architects Trowbridge & Livingston, opens, after its construction is funded by a $650,000 loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and a $150,000 donation from banker Charles Hayden of Hayden, Stone & Co. Its mission was to give the public "a more lively and sincere appreciation of the magnitude of the universe... and for the wonderful things which are daily occurring in the universe."
1956 Joseph M. Chamberlain, hired as an assistant curator in 1952, becomes Chairman of the Planetarium.[2]
1960 A Zeiss Mark IV projector is installed.
1973 A Zeiss Mark VI projector and new seats are installed.
1979 The planetarium appears as a backdrop for scenes in the film Manhattan. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton play characters who walk around within the planetarium after escaping from a sudden downburst of rain.
1997 The original Hayden Planetarium is closed and demolished in January.
1999 A new, customized Zeiss Mark IX projector is installed in August. It is accompanied by a digital dome projection system that provides a 3-D visualization of the universe based on images generated in real time by a Silicon Graphics supercomputer.
2000 On February 19, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, designed by James Polshek and containing the new Hayden Planetarium, opens to the public.
2001 The planetarium is briefly seen in the film K-PAX starring Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ deGrasse Tyson, Neil (February 2, 2001). "Astronomer Responds to Pluto-Not-a-Planet Claim". Space.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  2. ^ Martin, Douglas (December 11, 2011). "Joseph Chamberlain, 88, Dies; Brought the Stars a Bit Closer". New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°46′53″N 73°58′24″W / 40.78148°N 73.97324°W / 40.78148; -73.97324