Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
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)