The Adler Planetarium's Planet Nine Exhibition Snags the Popular Science Vizzie Award

Guests enjoy the popular Planet Nine sky show at Chicago's Adler Planetarium (photo courtesy of The Adler Planetarium).

The Adler Planetarium has announced that its newest sky show, Planet Nine, and its creators Patrick McPike and Mark SubbaRao from the Adler and Michael Brown from CalTech, have won a Vizzie award for People’s Choice in the Video Category at the 15th Annual Vizzies Challenge presented by Popular Science magazine and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Vizzies, formerly known as the International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, honor the most illustrative and impactful visualizations from the worlds of science and engineering. Celebrating their 15th anniversary, the Vizzies blur the line between science and art, and recognize visualizations of scientific phenomena in the form of photography, illustration, posters and graphics, video and interactive.

A team of experts at NSF and Popular Science pared hundreds of submissions down to 50 finalists.  From those 50, a panel of outside experts picked five Expert’s Choice winners, and Popular Science readers chose five People’s Choice winners.

Planet Nine had all the elements of a great story, and had already captured the public’s imagination,” said Mark SubbaRao, Adler Planetarium’s Space Visualization Laboratory director. “Because the data behind the potential discovery of a new planet is so complex, Planet Nine lent itself very well to data visualization-driven storytelling.”

Planet Nine opened at the Adler Planetarium in May 2016, and explores the largest of Pluto’s neighbors in the Kuiper belt, inviting visitors to join in the search for a new ninth planet. Viewers follow “Pluto Killer” Dr. Michael Brown and his team of scientists at CalTech as they hunt for a planet that may be hiding deep in the outer Solar System.  If you have been to the Adler Planetarium and have seen this spectacular sky show, you know that it is the breathtaking visualizations that help tell this fascinating story.

“Visual representations are a crucial way to communicate scientific ideas to the public,” said Popular Science online director Amy Schellenbaum. “They are a great way to help a larger group of people understand the amazing occurrences taking place right under our noses every day.”

For more information on all of the 2017 Vizzie winners, visit National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions.