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Monday, January 19, 2015

California Academy of Sciences New Planetarium Show, Habitat Earth, is Now Open

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Turning the telescopes back on us. - CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Turning the telescopes back on us.

By definition, a planetarium is an edifice in which images of stars, planets, and constellations are projected on the inner surface of a dome for public entertainment or education — but the Morrison Planetarium within the California Academy of Sciences is redefining the traditional concept of astronomical presentation. Instead of focusing on all the cosmic beauty to be found in galaxies far, far away, the Cal Academy team turned the telescopes around and focuses on the greatest wonder of the universe — Earth itself. 

Debuting to the public last Friday, Habitat Earth, is the newest planetarium show invites viewers to discover what it means to live in today's connected world on the only planet to be able to sustain biodiversity and life.

"In Habitat Earth, we're advancing the boundaries of traditional planetarium content, which focuses primarily on astronomy and space," says Ryan Wyatt, Director of Morrison Planetarium.

Projected upon the ceiling of the largest, all-digital planetarium in the world, audiences will begin at the Port of Oakland, dive below the ocean's surface, dig beneath the forest floors, and fly to new heights to observe the intricate intersection between human and ecological networks. SF Weekly was given an exclusive preview of the out of this world digital spectacular and here a few of the highlights (spoiler free!):
  • Since you are in the world's largest all-digital auditorium, you will be experience a completely sensory overload with the lifelike visuals. Our personal favorites were the under the sea segments beneath the kelp forest, where for the briefest of moments, one felt like we we're living our childhood fantasy of being a part of The Little Mermaid. Plus, we learned that sea otters rival penguins and pandas as the most adorable animals ever. 
  • There will be moments of motion-sickness but simply close your eyes and everything goes back to being grounded. 
  • The fact that the show is narrated by Academy Award winning actress Frances McDormand, and that her vocals rival those of Morgan Freeman when it comes to nature narrations, we never would have thought or desired that the woman who portrays a pregnant cop in Fargo could read us a bedtime story. 
The 30-minute show will play several times daily for approximately the span of a year. Admission is included with your general admittance ticket. But to rip off the catchphrase of a popular PBS program: You don't have to take our word for it. 
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About The Author

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda is a cultural correspondent with a concentration in tourism, literature, and lifestyle and has been writing for SF Weekly since 2013. As an avid traveler, he enjoys discovering destinations abroad as well as the never-ending hidden gems of San Francisco. #DondeAndaJuanDeAnda?

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