The Adler Planetarium: It Will Ignite Your Interest

IMSA Sophmore, Shruti Shakthivel, shares her experience of visiting the Adler Planetarium, how it ignited her interest and is the prime location on the lakeside to look at the stars. 

As one drives down to the end of Solidarity Drive they reach the Adler Planetarium. Throughout the whole city of Chicago, no view beats that of the Planetarium. On the shore of Lake Michigan, one can get the whole view of Downtown Chicago from the John Hancock Center to the Sears Tower. It has a prime location but they keep their eyes on the stars.

The Adler Planetarium is a public planetarium dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics. Museums are a great resource in the diverse city of Chicago. The planetarium offers exhibits that cater to each age group. Teens, children, adults, anyone can venture to the planetarium to explore and expand their minds to the vast world outside of Earth.

Some specific programs and exhibits they offer include Mission Moon which invites visitors to experience the first step through space through the Americas and Captain Lovell’s perspective. Just as astronomers did for the past 400 years, In Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass visitors can do just that. They can view models of celestial objects and learn about the impact telescopes had on space exploration. Additionally, in 30 minutes, visitors can travel to 2096 and take a trip through the solar system. The planetarium offers a movie express tour of the universe through the asteroid belt, moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and even traveling over the sun.

The exhibit that stood out to me during my trip to the planetarium was A Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time. I entered the hallway for the first time and I was intrigued. First, there are little blue, red, and green lights on the floor that represented the first particles of the world. Light and sound surrounded me as I was taken to the beginning of this universe, the Big Bang. The floor lit up with projections of the stars. When I stepped on the different starts and particles they continued to separate. I saw supernovas, exploding stars, a truly magical and immersive experience. As I kept walking through the paneled hallway, I approached a room with massive video screens. The simulation started in Chicago and then showed the whole Universe.

What intrigued me was the camera in front of the images on the videos screen because they would have delayed images. It sparked my curiosity because it brought me to think about all the stars and extraterrestrial activity that happens outside of earth. I could go outside and see stars but they may not even be there anymore, it’s just that only now their light has reached Earth. I didn’t fully understand everything I saw and read throughout the museum, however that was the point. It is a place to ignite interest and inspire people although not all the answers are there YET.

I’m not the only one who has gone to the Planetarium. I talked to students around IMSA to get their experiences at the Planetarium. Students in their last year of high school, Alana Dawson and Sophie Ashbrook recalled their visit from sophomore year.

Sophie said when she went, “there was a really big telescope that I used to see the different planets. My experience made me more interested in space exploration. Although I’m not pursuing a career in astrology, it opened  eyes to the world of science and inspired me to pursue my passion in STEM which I will be doing in the coming fall.”

Alana told me, “I’ve been a bunch of times. The last time I went during my sophomore year. It was really fun and it added to my interest in aerospace engineering. You can pilot your own rocket ship!”

Overall, the Adler Planetarium is a destination that will inspire you, or at least pique your interest into the vast unknown of the universe. It is a great place for visitors of all ages and they have an array of exhibits to foster curiosity. Whether you have a day or a week, I recommend checking out what the Planetarium offers. And a bonus, you will get great pics by the lakeside 😉

For more information check out this video: Adler Planetarium

See you there this summer,

Shruti Shakthivel

Welcome to Adler

About the ISSF 2018 Field Trip and Excursion Program

The goal of the ISSF 2018 Field Trip and Excursion Program is to introduce attendees to IMSA’s partners and collaborators across the Chicagoland area. From leading universities, science museums, and art institutes to private sector STEM partners, IMSA has a rich network of people and organizations who support and foster the academy as the leading learning laboratory it is today. During ISSF attendees will have the opportunity to participate in field trips and visit partner locations. You can read more about these trips here.

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