Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft gave us our first close look at Pluto, the most famous dwarf planet in the outskirts of our Solar System. The New Horizons flyby was big news, and the pictures it continues to send back to Earth reveal a world far more complex than anyone realized.
Using nothing but their wits (and high-powered telescopes and a thorough understanding of orbital mechanics), these intrepid explorers are making new discoveries about how our Solar System formed—and what it may be hiding.
The Adler Planetarium’s newest sky show, Planet Nine, opening May 28, explores the largest of Pluto’s neighbors in the Kuiper belt and invites visitors to join in the search for a new ninth planet.
“We are excited to be releasing our newest sky show, especially in light of news on a potential ninth planet lurking in our Solar System,” says Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D., astronomer and director of the Space Visualization Laboratory at the Adler. “After Mike Brown’s Kavli Prize Laureate lecture at the Adler last spring, we decided to collaborate on a sky show. Our new sky show will provide our visitors a glimpse into the very latest science, including the evidence as to why we think another large planet is out there.”
Mike Brown was one of three recipients of the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics, which was awarded for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members -- work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system.
With the new show, you can follow Mike Brown and his team at CalTech as they uncover dwarf worlds like the remarkably bright Eris; Haumea, an egg-shaped object rotating incredibly fast; and Sedna, whose orbit takes it deep into the far reaches of the Solar System.
Is there a new planet beyond these distant objects? You can tag along on Mike Brown’s first night searching for the ninth planet at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.
The Adler Planetarium gratefully acknowledges The Kavli Foundation for its generous support for the creation of Planet Nine.
Each year, over 550,000 visitors experience The Adler Planetarium’s interactive exhibitions, live planetarium shows, hands-on, minds-on STEM education programs, and world-class collections. Planet Nine is supported by The Kavli Foundation.
For more information about the new show, visit adlerplanetarium.org.
The Adler Planetarium's newest show, Planet Nine, focuses on the search for the newest planet along Pluto's Kuiper belt (photo courtesy of The Adler Planetarium).