How do you shop for Carl Sagan?  I was never quite sure what to get him.  Astronomical art?  A traditional tie?  Some years I made better choices than others, but too often I found it baffling.

For this Father’s Day, I’d like to announce the launch of a project I’m sure he would have loved.  It shouldn’t surprise you to know Dad was wild about planetariums.  He took me to several growing up and I remember well the shared joy of sitting together in the audience, watching those wondrous shows.  Now I’ve written one.  For the past several months, I’ve been collaborating with the Adler Planetarium on the flagship show for their new, groundbreaking (heck, call it skybreaking) Deep Space Adventure program.  It’s called The Searcher and it’s been a fantastic experience to work on, both a pleasure and an honor, and my heart practically breaks at how proud he’d be.

The Searcher features scientific simulations from powerful supercomputers and observations from the most advanced telescopes in existence, resulting in breathtaking visualizations that capture the audience’s attention and brings the action up close. Watch as a star is torn apart by a black hole, witness the collision of two massive galaxies, view the formation of the large-scale structure of the Universe, and encounter a dramatic supernova explosion.The Grainger Sky Theater will project the largest single seamless digital image in the world with an ultra high definition screen resolution of more than 8k x 8k pixels. This far surpasses the cinematic standard of 2k x 4k pixels, presenting a level of realism that can only be surpassed by actual space travel.

Vivid images of planets, stars, galaxies and other celestial objects are shown in the highest resolution and quality possible to evoke the feeling of being in deep space. The on-screen imagery will expand beyond the traditional 180-degree dome, surrounding the visitor with a 360-degree experience using special lighting effects in the floor.

It’s going to be a truly spectacular experience.  In coming weeks, I’ll post updates here on my blog and on my Twitter feed.  You can also keep up with the latest developments at the Adler’s Deep Space Adventure page, or on their YouTubeTwitter andFacebook pages.

The Searcher premiers on July 8th and it’s set to run for about a year, so if you find yourself in the Chicago area during that time, I hope you’ll give it a whirl.


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