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Liberty Science Center Planetarium
Photograph: Courtesy Liberty Science Center

The largest planetarium in the western hemisphere reopens in Jersey City this weekend

The planetarium's screen is taller than four giraffes.

By
Shaye Weaver
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The Liberty Science Center, which houses the largest planetarium in the western hemisphere, reopens this weekend in time for Labor Day.

The museum, which is located about half an hour outside of NYC in Jersey City, will welcome back members starting Friday and the general public on Saturday.

“LSC’s mission—to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers—is more urgent than ever. We need to encourage kids who will grow up to cure diseases, discover distant planets, create life-changing technologies, and lead us to a brighter future,” said Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of Liberty Science Center. “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome learners of all ages back to LSC where we can provide inspiring and entertaining learning experiences.”

Now that museums have been given the green light by the state to open, the museum is introducing health and safety protocols, including frequent disinfecting and sanitizing, requiring everyone to wear masks and social distance and purchase timed-entry tickets to limit capacity to less than 25 percent.

The Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium is truly spectacular—its diameter is almost twice as long as a bowling alley lane and its screen is taller than four giraffes. The only three planetariums that are bigger are in Beijing, China, and Nagoya and Niihama, Japan.

It can also produce over 281 trillion individual colors, which can make its dome look like our big beautiful blue sky, the red sky of Mars, or a rapidly changing pattern to enhance laser shows. Its software allows for downloads of the latest animations and images from NASA to keep up with breaking science news.

"You can fit any other planetarium in the Western Hemisphere inside the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium,” Hoffman said. “Add in the state-of-the-art technology and you have a spectacular unique theater-like none other in the world."

The Liberty Science Center also has 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator and more.

Right now, LSC presents exhibits, Angry Birds in Angry Birds Universe and Wild Kratts: Creature Power!, which has mole rats, cotton-top tamarin monkeys, and dozens of other creatures you can visit. Boom Time! shows off controlled explosions several times throughout the day in a 57-square-foot movable safe room made of polycarbonate walls.

Starting Saturday, non-members can visit from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $24.99 for adults and $19.99 for children, which you can purchase at lsc.org.

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