Clark Planetarium Taking Visitors into a Black Hole

Clark Planetarium Taking Visitors into a Black Hole

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Ed Yeates ReportingSome Utah wizards have been putting together a journey to the far reaches of space for a plunge into a black hole. It's as close to the real thing, save going there.

This, by far, is the most challenging production for the Clark Planetarium. Again, in a star dome like this, you do not need 3-D glasses, you simply sit and look up into the dome, and are pulled into one of the most mysterious anomalies of space - a black hole!

Mike Murray, Programs Manager, Clark Planetarium: "We actually took the actual calculations from Einstein's equations and generated the code to see how it would distort space, if you were to come up on a black hole.”

And come upon it you do, in an encompassing, mysterious, somewhat frightening spectacle, complete with a soundtrack packaged at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch.

Mike Murray: “IN an immersive theatre, a domed theatre, it’s the closest thing to a collective virtual reality experience that you can get.”

For the past year creative computer wizards in the basement of the Planetarium have been digitally modeling and animating the production on the same level as Pixar studios or Dreamworks.

For one simple image, this is not just TV's 355-thousand pixels, not even 273-thousand for HDTV, but 11-million 520-thousand. That's impeccable resolution on the dome. It has over 200 BILLION pixels for the production as a whole. You'll see almost everything, including…

Mike Murray: “You get to see what would happen if an astronaut were to get pulled into a black hole.”

On an upper floor of the planetarium, the production is now being rendered in its final stages on 60 computers.

Mike Murray: “This thing is generating a lot of heat. It’s been running 24/7 for the past six months.”

An adventure beyond your wildest imagination? It must be close since many planetariums around the world have already purchased the production, sight unseen.

Black Holes opens at the Planetarium next month.

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