I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Baby it's cold outside! That's the perfect time to scan the skies in New York. Okay, so you can't observe any celestial bodies in Manhattan—except maybe the moon—you can enjoy the stars and planets at the Museum of Natural History. Academy Award–winning actress Whoopi Goldberg narrates the American Museum of Natural History's spectacular new Hayden Planetarium Space Show, Journey to the Stars, at the Museum's Rose Center for Earth and Space.
Never-before-seen visualizations of physics-based simulations demonstrate the science behind the scenes while the domed ceiling comes alive with exploding supernovas, star clusters, and other NASA-provided, blow-you-away visuals.
Dennis Overbye of the New York Times calls Journey to the Stars the "most beautiful planetarium show ever." Find out for yourself as you view the collaborative work of more than 40 scientists who reveal the secrets of the life and death of stars in space, including the most massive and life-giving star in our solar system, the Sun.
Children and adults alike time travel 13 billion years into the past and learn about the formation of the Milky Way. The show also explores the life span and stages of stars, and demonstrates what happens to them when they die and become white dwarfs—the innermost core of stars once they shed their outer layers of matter—material that may one day form new planets in galaxies not unlike our own. To further educate young people, the museum website offers a variety of tools that reinforce facts presented in the show. There's even a website devoted entirely to students.
After the show, enjoy related exhibits in the museum's adjacent Cullman Hall of Universe, including plenty of hands-on activities for youngsters and novice astronomers. Don't forget to visit the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites, including the kid's favorite, Ahnighito, a 34-ton iron meteorite fragment. Of course, all the regular museum exhibits that you've come to love are still there too. Check out the dinosaur skeletons, the Hall of Human Origins, and don't forget all the wonderful, artistic dioramas, which have been restored to perfection.