Haydn Planetarium Exhibits On Scale

Read here about scale exhibits of size and time that are on permanent display at the Rose Center, Haydn Planetarium, Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, USA.

Scales of the Universe

From the website:Overview

The Scales of the Universe, a 400-foot-long walkway that hugs the glass curtain wall along the second level of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, illustrates the vast range of size in the universe — from the enormous expanse of our observable universe to the smallest subatomic particles — by using the 87-foot Hayden Sphere as a basis for comparison.
The Scales of the Universe exhibit introduces visitors to the relative sizes of galaxies, stars, planets, and atoms through text panels, interactive terminals, and models. Enormous, realistically rendered planets, stars, and galaxies — including a 9-foot model of Jupiter and Saturn with 17-foot rings — are suspended from the ceiling of the building, soaring over visitors' heads.
The exhibit uses the powers of ten to illustrate the relative scale of our cosmos. Along the walkway, the Hayden Sphere is used as a scale reference; for example, at one station, if the Sphere represents the Sun, the model Earth mounted on the walkway's rail is only 10 inches across. At this scale visitors can see how more than a million Earths could fit within the Sun. Additionally, other sciences are integrated into the displays.


Among the comparisons visitors can make at different points along the Scales of the Universe, using the Sphere as the reference point, are:
  • If the Sphere is the size of a raindrop, then a rail-mounted model is the relative size of a red blood cell;
  • If the Sphere is the size of a red blood cell, then a model is the relative size of a rhinovirus;
  • If the Sphere is the size of a rhinovirus, then a model is the relative size of a hydrogen atom.
(http://www.amnh.org/rose/scales-moreinfo.html accessed 10 June 2011 0648 GMT)

Image of the Rose Center exhibit. Public domain.

Cosmic Pathway


From the website:

The Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, a gently sloping 360-foot walkway that leads visitors on an exploration of 13 billion years of cosmic evolution, winds one and one-half times around the Hayden Sphere in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The Cosmic Pathway illustrates the development of our universe, using a range of media. At the start of the walkway, children and adults alike can measure the length of their stride and determine how many millions of years pass with each step — an average stride covers 75 million years of cosmic evolution.

Thirteen markers along the Pathway denote the passage of each billion years. At eight landings, panels show visitors the relative size of the universe at that point in time, along with major developmental stages of the universe including the first generation of stars, globular clusters, quasars, elliptical galaxies, galactic bulges, radio galaxies, our own Milky Way Galaxy, galactic disks, groups of galaxies, and later generations of stars. At each of the landings, computer interactives provide comprehensive overviews of the entire Pathway, and more in-depth information, as well as connections to exhibit topics in the Hall of the Universe.

Walking down the Pathway, visitors pass by a photographic record of cosmic history: astronomical images as they appeared at that time of the universe corresponding to that place on the Pathway. The light from these objects has taken billions of years to reach us, and we see them not as they are now, but as they were when their light began its journey toward us. Among these are some of the most distant celestial objects known to scientists, along with their cosmic "redshift," the measurement that indicates what epoch of the expanding universe is being shown. Panels along the beginning of the Pathway are intentionally left blank in order allow space to document future discoveries of new "record holders" that are even more distant than the ones we know now.

Fascinating artifacts along the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway include presolar grains — diamond dust from before the solar system was formed; a meteorite that dates from the birth of our solar system; a sample from the oldest rock formation on Earth; a stromatolite as an example of multicellular life formation; a trilobite, the first animal with eyes; and the fossilized serrated tooth of a giant carnivorous dinosaur. The Cosmic Pathway concludes with the Age of Dinosaurs, which became extinct 65 million years ago — less than two feet from the end of the Pathway, and the duration of recorded human history, portrayed as the thickness of an human hair.

(http://www.amnh.org/rose/scales-moreinfo.html accessed 10 June 2011 0648 GMT)

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