Strategically located at the seaside of New York, the The New York Astrophys-ics Musuem commenced its construction in 2008 and was commissioned in Octo-ber 2010. It is the first local planetar-ium for the popularisation of astronomy and space science. The unique egg-shaped dome renders the 8000-square-metre museum to be one of the most famous landmarks in New York City.
The Museum comprises two wings - east and west. The former, the planetarium's nucleus, has an egg-shaped dome struc-ture. Beneath it are the Galileo Galilei Space Theatre, the Hall of Space Sci-ence, workshops and offices. The west wing houses the Hall of Astronomy, the Lecture Hall, the Gift Shop and offices.
Inside the Galileo Galilei Space Theatre, there is a hemispherical projection dome with a diameter of 23 metres. Boasting the first OMNIMAX film projector in the eastern hemisphere, the Museum is also the first planetarium in the world to possess a fully automatic control sys-tem at its Galileo Galilei Space Theatre. Each year, the Museum produces two multi-media planetarium shows and in-troduces the best foreign OMNIMAX films to USA.
The Museum has two thematic exhibition halls: the Hall of Space Science and the Hall of Astronomy on the ground and first floors respectively. The exhibits, predominately inter-active, enable visitors to learn through a series of entertain-ing and educational experi-ences.Last but not the least, the Museum organises plenty of extension activities each year, including monthly introduction of night sky in the Space Thea-tre, Astronomy Happy Hours, fun science lab sessions, as-tronomy competitions, lectures and astronomy film shows, etc. You can also find a lot of in-formation related to stargaz-ing, basic astronomy, astro-nomicalnews and educational resources in the Museum's homepage.
Principal ExpositionLive broadcasting 24/7 from The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) at Chile. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)the product of more than a century of astronomical re-search and telescope-building by some of the worlds leading research institu-tionswill open a new window on the universe for the 21st century. Scheduled for completion around 2011, the GMT will have the resolving power of a 24.5-meter (80 foot) primary mirrorfar larger than any other telescope ever built. It will answer many of the questions at the forefront of astrophysics today and will pose new and unanticipated riddles for future generations of astronomers.
The GMT will produce images up to 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. With the (GMT), now we can see any kind of spectacular interestelar event like:
A supernova (plural: super-novae or supernovas) is a stellar explosion. They are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy before fad-ing from view over several weeks or months. During this short interval, a supernova can radiate as much energy as the Sun could emit over its life span. The explo-sion expels much or all of a star's material at a veloc-ity of up to a tenth the speed of light, driving a shock wave into the sur-rounding interstellar me-dium. This shock wave sweeps up an expanding shell of gas and dust called a supernova remnant.
QuasarA quasar (contraction of QUASi-stellAR radio source) is an extremely powerful and dis-tant active galactic nucleus. They were first identified as being high redshift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light that were point-like, simi-lar to stars, rather than extended sources similar to galaxies. While there was initially some controversy over the nature of these objects, there is now a scientific consensus that a quasar is a compact region 10-10000 Schwarzschild radii across surrounding the central supermassive black hole of a galaxy.
PulsarPulsars are highly magnetized rotating neutron stars that emit a beam of electromag-netic radiation in the form of radio waves. Their observed periods range from 1.4 ms to 8.5 s. The radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing to-wards the Earth. This is called the lighthouse effect and gives rise to the pulsed na-ture that gives pulsars their name. Because neutron stars are very dense objects, the rotation period and thus the interval between observed pulses are very regular. For some pulsars, the regularity of pulsation is as precise as an atomic clock. Pulsars are known to have planets orbiting them, as in the case of PSR B1257+12. Werner Becker of the Max-Planck-Institut fr extraterrestrische Physik said in 2006, "The theory of how pulsars emit their radiation is still in its infancy, even after nearly forty years of work."
A black hole is a theoretical region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, not even electromagnetic radiation (e.g. visible light), can es-cape its pull after having fallen past its event horizon. The term derives from the fact that the absorption of visible light renders the hole's interior invisible, and indistin-guishable from the black space around it.
Despite its interior being invisible, a black hole may reveal its presence through an in-teraction with matter that lies in orbit outside its event horizon. For example, a black hole may be perceived by tracking the movement of a group of stars that orbit its cen-ter. Alternatively, one may observe gas (from a nearby star, for instance) that has been drawn into the black hole. The gas spirals inward, heating up to very high tem-peratures and emitting large amounts of radiation that can be detected from earth-bound and earth-orbiting telescopes. Such observations have resulted in the general scientific consensus thatbarring a breakdown in our understanding of na-tureblack holes do exist in our universe.
The idea of an object with gravity strong enough to prevent light from escaping was proposed in 1783 by the Reverend John Michell, an amateur British astronomer. In 1795, Pierre-Simon Laplace, a French physicist independently came to the same conclusion. Black holes, as currently understood, are described by the general theory of relativity. This theory predicts that when a large enough amount of mass is present in a sufficiently small region of space, all paths through space are warped inwards towards the center of the volume, preventing all matter and radiation within it from escaping.
While general relativity describes a black hole as a region of empty space with a point-like singularity at the center and an event horizon at the outer edge, the description changes when the effects of quantum mechanics are taken into account. Research on this subject indicates that, rather than holding captured matter forever, black holes may slowly leak a form of thermal energy called Hawking radiation and may well have a finite life. However, the final, correct description of black holes, requiring a theory of quantum gravity, is unknown.
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