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Description Itinerary Walkthrough

Cosmic Questions
Our Place in Space and Time

What is beyond our galaxy? When did time begin? Questions like these are at the heart of Cosmic Questions: Our Place in Space and Time. The exhibition invites visitors to explore the mysteries of the universe, discovering what it's like to be an astronomer using the latest technologies to uncover clues hidden in distant galaxies.

Cosmic Questions features four main areas:

  Cosmic Questions: Welcome Home
Cosmic Questions: Welcome Home
Photo by Kevin Burke/SAO
Our Place in Space
The journey begins in our own Milky Way galaxy and travels outward to billions of galaxies as far as the eye can see. Visitors can explore a tactile bronze model of our local "cosmic neighborhood"; launch themselves through a video fly-through of the universe; share in the stories told by artists, scientists and theologians, and create poetry influenced by the cosmos.

Observing the Universe
This area allows visitors to explore the universe using the tools of some of the world's foremost ground-based and space-borne observatories. In this exhibit, visitors can move infrared cameras over objects to see phenomena usually invisible, learn how cultures around the world observed a supernova explosion in 1054 A.D., and visit the Mauna Kea observatory, where they can send a telescopic photograph of a specific night-sky object to their home e-mail address.

Cosmic Questions: Cosmic Kitchen
Cosmic Questions: Cosmic Kitchen
Photo by Kevin Burke/SAO

Our Place in Time
Astronomer Carl Sagan once observed, "In order to bake an apple pie from scratch, first you have to invent the universe." In this area visitors are invited to reflect on the human story as it relates to the unfolding story of the cosmos. Visitors can look back in time and examine the expanding, evolving universe to find their own connections to the Big Bang. This exhibit is anchored by the Cosmic Kitchen Theatre, where a short theatrical production explores the 14-billion-year history of the universe and the "recipe" for our own existence.

Great Cosmic Mysteries
While other sections of this exhibition encourage visitors to explore what we currently know and understand about space and time, this area acknowledges that there are deep mysteries yet to be understood. A series of interconnected rooms introduce a gallery of mysteries—dark matter and energy, black holes, and the possibility of life elsewhere in our universe. A fourth room invites visitors to reflect on their own connections to the cosmos.

Cosmic Questions: Infrared Astronomy
Cosmic Questions: Infrared Astronomy
Photo by Kevin Burke/SAO

Rich program materials developed by the Museum of Science, Boston, travel with the exhibition; these include a theater piece, demonstration carts, and materials for students and teachers. A staff training workshop will also be offered to host museums.

Invention at Play Cosmic Questions Online

Cosmic Questions: Our Place in Space and Time was developed by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Jeff Kennedy Associates, Inc., with generous support from the National Science Foundation and NASA.

Components Requirements Cost Shipping
18 exhibit areas:

Welcome Home
Mapping the Universe
Wall of Galaxies
Human Reflections
Mauna Kea
Multi-Wavelength Astronomy
Spectra Interactive
Infrared Astronomy
Sky-Watchers, Then & Now
Beyond Hubble
Cosmic Kitchen
Cosmic Calendar
The Big Bang
Connecting with the Cosmos
What's the Cosmos Made of?
Are We Alone?
What Are Black Holes?

4,500 square feet

12-foot ceilings

Controlled lighting

Interpretive staff during open hours

Ethernet connection

$75,000 member;
$80,000 nonmember
for a 12-week booking
Four vans

DescriptionItinerary Walkthrough

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