Timeout New York Kids

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Journey to the Stars at the Hayden Planetarium

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It's tough to see the stars beyond the incandescent city lights, and during one of the rainiest Junes in New York's history, even the sun was hard to spot. How will kids remember to wish upon a star when they’re so unused to seeing one?

So it seems the Hayden Planetarium's new show has arrived at the perfect time. Narrated with characteristic charm by Oscar-winning actor Whoopi Goldberg, Journey to the Stars invites audiences to get up close and personal with the bright celestial bodies and enjoy a cursory astronomy lesson to boot.

Moving at the speed of light as stars whiz across the screen, events that take millions of years unfold in a matter of minutes. Visitors are sent 13 billion years into the past to witness the first stars being born. The tiny specks of light illuminate the screen with incredible colors, and the seats actually shake as supernovas explode, altering the universe forever. A trip to the sun's surface reveals solar winds that travel ominously toward Earth, creating auroras and solar light displays at the North Pole.

"Many shows make kids feel small; we want them to feel like a part of the universe," says Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, co-curator of the show. Indeed, older students will notice their science studies reflected in the story, as hydrogen atoms collide and the sun prepares to die millions of years from now, expanding into a red giant, then collapsing into a white dwarf. Younger kids (and parents, who may have long forgotten their coursework) will just think the show’s stellar fun.—Amity Paye

Journey to the Stars at the Hayden Planetarium, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, American Museum of Natural History, screens every half hour: Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 10:30am--4:30pm; Wed 11am--4pm; Sat, Sun 10:30am--5pm.

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