Since 2000, the planetarium has been one of the two main attractions within the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The planetarium is the top half of the Sphere, which uses a customized Zeiss Star Projector system, one of the most powerful virtual reality simulators in the world. The bottom half of the Sphere is home to the Big Bang, which transfers the visitors to the moment when the Universe was created.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is the planetarium's director.
- 1935 The Hayden Planetarium, designed by architects Trowbridge & Livingston, opens, after its construction is funded by a $650,000 loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and a $150,000 donation from Charles Hayden. Its mission was to give the public:
- a more lively and sincere appreciation of the magnitude of the universe... and for the wonderful things which are daily occurring in the universe.
- 1960 A Zeiss Mark IV projector is installed.
- 1973 A Zeiss Mark VI projector and new seats are installed.
- 1979 The planetarium appears as a backdrop for scenes in the film Manhattan. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton play characters who walk around within the planetarium after escaping from a sudden downburst of rain.
- 1997 The original Hayden Planetarium is closed in January.
- 1999 A new, customized Zeiss Mark IX projector is installed in August. It is accompanied by a digital dome projection system that provides a 3-D visualization of the universe based on images generated in real time by a Silicon Graphics supercomputer.
- 2000 In February, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, designed by James Polshek and containing the new Hayden Planetarium, opens to the public.
- The official site of the Rose Center for Earth and Space
- History of the Hayden Planetarium, from the planetarium's own website
- Summary of the Hayden Planetarium from the Zeiss website
- March 2002 press release from SGI, describing the technology behind the image generation
- 'The Digital Universe' - 3-dimensional atlas of the universe - free downloadable software provided by the Hayden Planetarium