Monthly Archives June 2021

Classic laser rock shows are back at the Saint-Louis planetarium

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – You can travel back in time during the McDonnell Planetarium laser show series. The dome will merge art, light, with a classic art soundtrack with stunning visuals. The St. Louis Science Center claims 3D atmospheric effects are an unforgettable experience.

Laser shows have been an attraction at the planetarium for decades. The new shows are bringing entertainment into the 21st century with new technology that allows laser beams to be seen above the audience in the air.

You will need to purchase tickets in advance. They are $ 10.95 for non-members
and $ 9.95 for members.

Classic Rock Nights feature hits from AC / DC, Aerosmith, Journey, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, and more. The ’90s Alternative’ experience includes hits from Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine and Alice in Chains. Check out each show list for a playlist of songs.

Display the schedule:

Friday, July 2, 2021

6:00 am Laser show: The Beatles
7:30 am Laser show: Led Zeppelin

Saturday July 3, 2021

6:00 Laser show: Reine
7:30 am Laser Show: The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Sunday, July 4, 2021

6:00 Laser show: Rush 2112
7:30 am Laser show: classic rock evening

Monday July 5, 2021

6:00 Laser show: Genesis
7:30 am Laser show: Reine

Thursday July 8, 2021

6:00 am Laser Show: The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
7:30 am Laser show: Rush 2112

Friday, July 9, 2021

6:00 am Laser show: The Beatles
7:30 am Laser show: Alternative of the 90s

Saturday July 10, 2021

6:00 a.m. Laser show: classic rock evening
7:30 am Laser show: The Wall by Pink Floyd
9:00 am Laser Show: The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Sunday 11 July 2021

6:00 Laser show: Led Zeppelin
7:30 am Laser show: Reine


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This new 3D planetarium was a German rocket hangar during WWII

Make more illuminating use of a former Nazi rocket bunker in northern France, RSA Cosmos transformed the enormous hanger into a new state-of-the-art 3D planetarium that promises customers “unforgettable journeys through the universe in a state-of-the-art 360-degree environment.”

RSA Cosmos recently outfitted the Cosmic Attraction with a dozen luxury 4K projectors to manifest what is called the world’s first 10K 3D planetarium.

The dome is a giant bunker complex located next to Saint Omer in the Pas-de-Calais that was built by German forces to launch deadly V-2 rockets targeted at London and southern England during the dark days of the Second World War.

The facility was bombed by Allied forces during the war and finally removed and captured in September 1944. Winston Churchill requested that it be half demolished to prevent it from being used again as a military site. This historic complex was then used for the Apollo program before being neglected and abandoned. From the end of the 1990s, La Coupole was redeveloped into a historical war museum open to the public.

With a whole new breath, the the museum’s fantasy planetarium now has a new digital system. RSA Cosmos hoped to improve the quality of the compelling 3D experience, which now touts itself as the very first in the world to feature 10K 3D visuals at the meridian.

These stunning images of the sky are made possible by a combination of the company’s SkyExplorer 2021 software and a dozen Sony VPL-GTZ380 4K projectors installed in a 49-foot digital dome.

The $ 80,000 premium SXRD laser projectors emit 10,000 bright lumens and support 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. They are fully capable of adjusting the contrast scene by scene, contain built-in technology to limit motion blur, and are also capable of enhancing the color and contrast of individual objects found in the projected image for enhanced clarity.

“The objective of this modernization project was to achieve an image quality that we no longer had”, declared the person in charge of the planetarium of La Coupole, Nicolas Fiolet, in a official press release. “Thanks to Sony projectors, we get beautiful skies, beautiful colors and great contrasts.”

In addition, this transformation project has allowed RSA Cosmos to improve lighting and install new comfortable seats, each with integrated armrests with a special control panel that allows interaction with the public. This feature even allows stargazing visitors to take control of the camera in projected simulations for a more thrilling heavenly experience.


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Aurora throughout our solar system

The majestic Northern and Southern Lights have mystified humans for millennia. During the long, dark winter nights – when the space weather is good – green and purple clouds can cover the polar sky from horizon to horizon. The glowing lights dance and move in curtains and arcs, forming a crescendo of color before disappearing.

The terrestrial auroras are not alone in our solar system either. Telescope observations and visiting spacecraft have found evidence of auroras on Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus – and even exoplanets. And with a recent discovery on Jupiter’s mysterious “dawn of dawn” published in the journal AGU Advances, astronomers continue to unravel the mysteries of these lights throughout our solar system.

(Credit: Roen Kelly / Discover)

Aurora on Earth

Auroras on Earth are created when our planet is bombarded by particles from the Sun, mainly electrons and protons. These particles travel down Earth’s magnetic field lines, where they collide with nitrogen and oxygen and excite molecules until they glow. The basic mechanics are not too different from a simple neon.

And yet the Northern Lights and the Northern Lights continue to confuse astronomers’ attempts to predict them and explain their many nuances. For example, just recently a group of citizen scientists discovered a whole new type of aurora, which they dubbed “Steve”. And some researchers are now even trying to find out whether auroras can make sounds – an idea that recurs regularly in folklore but has generally been rejected by science.

More and more, astronomers are also discovering that our planet is not the only one with auroras. Yet not all of them function quite the same as the Earth.

Venus does not have a strong magnetic field, but its proximity to the Sun means that the planet is hit by solar storms so strong that they cause a kind of aurora. (Credit: ESA / C. Carreau)

Aurora on Venus

Venus completely lacks a magnetic field. So if Earth’s auroras are caused by interactions with our planet’s magnetic field, then surely Venus shouldn’t have any Northern Lights at all. Right?

And yet, for forty years, astronomers have wondered about the strange green signals observed on images of the planet.

Scientists moved closer to solving the mystery in 2014. A team of researchers using a telescope in New Mexico observed that Venus was repeatedly struck by solar storms. Each time, green excited oxygen signals appeared.

This evidence, combined with observations collected by the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft, suggests that the Sun’s own magnetic field could be extended to the planet by solar wind. This process is sufficient to create auroras.

A localized aurora dances above Mars in this artists illustration. (Credit: ESA / C. Carreau)

Aurora on Mars

Like Venus, Mars also has auroras despite its extremely weak magnetic field. And the auroras of Mars are made even more incredible because the red planet orbits twice as far from the Sun as Venus.

Nearly two decades ago, ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft caught a startling glow in the planet’s upper atmosphere. It turns out that the aurorae of Mars are unlike anything else in the solar system.

While the Red Planet lost its magnetic field a long time ago, observations from spacecraft show that magnetic anomalies still persist today, scattered across the planet’s crust. And these regions correspond to the areas where the residual magnetic field of Mars is strongest. So when charged solar particles hit the planet, they interact with this patchwork of magnetism and produce faint, scattered auroras.

A new study helps explain the existence of what is called “the dawn of dawn” on Jupiter. (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / UVS / STScI / MODIS / WIC / IMAGE / ULiège / Bonfond)

Aurora over Jupiter

In the far reaches of our solar system, astronomers have seen auroras on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Auroras on these gas giant planets likely have similar mechanisms, although Uranus and Neptune have only been visited once by spaceships.

Of all, Jupiter is home to the most spectacular light show in the solar system, as the Hubble Space Telescope has shown us in great detail. Its aurorae are absolutely massive in size thanks to a magnetosphere about 20,000 times more powerful than that of Earth.

They never stop either. While Earth’s auroras fired their spark only from the Sun, Jupiter also receives a constant dose of charged particles from its volcanic moon, Io.

Hubble observed the auroras for an extended and particularly active period in 2016 that coincided with the arrival of orbiter Juno to Jupiter. As Hubble observed the planet, the arriving probe measured the solar wind. Together, the spacecraft has provided new insight into how Jupiter’s auroras react to charged particles from the Sun.

A new study published in March 2021 provided additional information. Before the arrival of the Juno spacecraft, astronomers could not observe the auroras on the day side of Jupiter. And as the spacecraft scanned the night side of Jupiter, it spotted the emergence of extremely bright auroras called “dawn storms.” These storms produce hundreds of times more energy than a nuclear reactor on Earth. And for the first time, this new study has followed storms from their origins on the night side of the planet to their full evolution to the day side.

It turns out that they form much like a kind of aurora on Earth called an auroral sub-storm. Here they are caused by sudden and “explosive” reconfigurations of our planet’s magnetosphere as the solar wind varies. But on Jupiter, the process is probably related to changes in the plasma from Io.

SIMP j01365663 + 0933473, a rogue planet with intense auroras. (Credit: Chuck Carter, Caltech, NRAO / AUI / NSF)

Aurora on a rogue planet

In 2018, astronomers discovered a huge gas giant planet about 20 light years away, dubbed SIMP j01365663 + 0933473. With a mass 13 times that of Jupiter, it traverses our original starless galaxy, making it a so-called “rogue planet”. These worlds formed without stars or were thrown out of their solar systems.

SIMP j01365663 + 0933473 also appears to have a magnetic field millions of times stronger than that of Earth with auroras that can put our northern lights to shame. According to a 2018 study in The Journal of Astrophysics, its auroras occur through a process totally different from anything that happens in our solar system.

Without a star to bombard it with charged particles, SIMP j01365663 + 0933473 must have another source. This could mean that this rogue planet does not wander the galaxy completely on its own. Like Jupiter and Io, it may have a volcanically active moon that feeds it with charged particles. Or, alternatively, like so many different aurora mechanisms that astronomers have discovered over the years, SIMP j01365663 + 0933473 may hold some surprises as well.


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