San Francisco has just opened the city's shiny new Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, and it's the world's most high-tech spot for learning about the universe. The completely-computerized theater can feed real-time climate data from satellites into the show, as well as allow audiences to reprogram the show while it's in progress. Maximum PC's Norm Chan got a chance to visit the planetarium and check out the show — as well as the awesome servers, software, and hardware that run the place. Chan writes:
Flying through the solar system at near-light speed, soaring down over the landscape of the Moon and Mars, and then warping out to the outer reaches of the galaxy — this is as close to being an astronaut as most of us are going to get. Even more trippy though was the optical illusion created by the dome's curvature. Even though the planetarium show isn't projected in stereoscopic 3D (though it's technically possible), the concave construction of the dome made some of the images look like they were popping out of the screen (like the illusion you see when looking at the front of a spoon).
His story is a great read, especially if you'd like to know how the planetarium simulates whooshing through space so effectively that audiences get vertigo. Luckily, Morrison Planetarium also has fans that keep the room at positive pressure, which prevents motion sickness. [via Maximum PC]