Get local news delivered straight to your phone

INDEFINITE

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Armchair astronomers who got cricks in their necks squinting at Comet Hyakutake may want to check out The New Solar System, the high-tech, special effects-laden planetarium show that premiered last month at the National Air & Space Museum. Drawing on satellite imagery, computer enhancements, and artists’ conceptions, the half-hour presentation takes the viewer on a tour of the solar system as seen from the vantage point of a wandering comet. As the comet heads toward Old Sol, it plunges through Saturn’s rings, sideswipes the sulfur-spewing volcanos of the Jovian moon Io, and pierces the cloud veil surrounding Venus. How we end up is no mystery: Billions of years hence, the dying sun will expand into a red giant and vaporize Earth like a soap bubble. Until that time, however, the solar system will remain in a constant flux, due to the internal dynamics of the planets and the occasional head-on collision that occurs even in the wide-open territory of space. Every 40 minutes from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the National Air & Space Museum’s Einstein Planetarium, 7th & Independence Ave. SW. $4. (202) 357-2700. (Greg Kitsock)