New Jersey is home to the Largest Planetarium in the Western Hemisphere

When you think of New Jersey, what comes to mind? Do you think of the Jersey Shore, the Casinos? What would you think of New Jersey being home to the largest planetarium in the country???? What about the largest in the Western Hemisphere??? Well, we are officially making headlines!

I spent the day at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City to check out the fuss.

Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of the Liberty Science Center exclaimed that, "Jersey Matters even more now because we have opened the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere."

(I love a good play on words... Jersey Matters is the name of the show we were shooting this interview for!)

The Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium is named after its donor, a New Jersey Philanthropist and Liberty Science Center board member, whose five million dollar contribution made the creation possible.

I wondered, what makes this facility different than the planetariums I have visited in the last 15-20 years? Michael Shanahan, who is the Planetarium Director of the Liberty Science Center explained that "planetariums were invented in the 1920s, the first one in the us was the mid-30s and for a long time they were best at showing the nighttime sky from earth, anywhere on Earth at any time. But that was all they could do."

Over the last year and a half, the Liberty Science Center recently completed a mass overhaul of their Imax Dome Theatre and now visitors can see 'infinity and beyond' from right here in New Jersey.

Hoffman suggested that “when it comes to size in planetariums, size matters."

This massive theatre stretches from 60 feet tall and 89 feet wide!!

Shanahan adds, "The flexibility of the place is really wonderful. One thing about this theatre is that its tilted 30 degrees, which is what you do in an out of dome theatre (what is was originally) What that means for the audience is you get a great view, of the screen and of the front of the room. Its a great venue for weddings, for lectures, for astronomers to talk about their research."

This state-of-the-art planetarium will turn the Liberty Science Center into a travel destination.

Shanahan explained that he thinks "the theatre experience in this day and age is a whole experience. Its not just the visuals, stunning as they are, its also the sounds. We have a 5.1 sound system, we have 16 sub-woofers behind the dome, so you get to really feel the experience as well."

Hoffman boasted that "You would have to go all the way to Beijing to get a planetarium that is this large. The other thing is that we have state-of the-art technology. We won't have bragging rights to that forver, but right now were the most technologically-advanced digitial theatre in the world. Its an incredible experience. People should come to the Liberty Science Center because Jersey Matters!!"

So for anyone reading this who is interested, you can visit the facility just across the Hudson River overlooking Manhattan. For the full story check out the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czGQlnGBMpI

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