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Expanding Universe Hall

Your space for discovery

Embark on a journey through our solar system and beyond, and discover how scientists uncover the secrets of the universe.

How and when did our universe come to exist? And how has our understanding of the cosmos changed over time? Embark on a journey through our solar system and beyond, and discover the tools and principles that scientists use to study these and other questions.

From the moment you step inside the 2,200-square-foot Expanding Universe Hall, discovery is in your hands — from an interactive stargazing adventure to an unusual obstacle course that moves at the speed of light! And all around you, stunning multimedia elements bring the awe-inspiring beauty of stars, planets and distant galaxies perfectly into focus. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a space explorer, there’s no better time or place to start your journey! Highlights include:

The Big Bang and Beyond

Explore the origin of the universe and the birth of our solar system by:

  • Peering into a well to watch the Big Bang unfold on a 3D reflective dome
  • Taking a 3D animated journey through the solar system — complete with a rest stop on Mars
  • Viewing stunning images of space as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Using a planisphere to identify stars and constellations illuminating the exhibit hall
  • Discovering the breakthroughs of Galileo, Newton, Hershel, Hubble and others

Physics of the Universe

Though the conditions here on Earth are much different than those in outer space, the laws of physics still apply. Interactive explorations include:

  • Separating light into individual wavelengths using spectrum analysis
  • Classifying stars by matching them to their proper class spectrum
  • Zooming in and out on different types of matter to better understand the scale of the universe