“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground” – Theodore Roosevelt
For the first time I checked out the Stardome Observatory in Auckland, to learn about black holes.
Not knowing much about black holes – despite knowing a few people who could be classed as ’empty voids who could suck the life out of you’ – I thought this would be a good opportunity to gain some space knowledge.
The Stardome itself has been open since 1967, and while the actual exhibition space inside is very small, with an entry fee of just $2, you can’t really complain. Show prices – which are generally pre recorded films with Q&A from Stardome staff – start from $12 for adults.
This show was entitled ‘Black Holes, The Other Side of Infinity‘, narrated by Liam Neeson, which took viewers though computer simulations of black holes (trailer below). Following the show, we were invited to view Saturn and Jupitor through the telescopes, but because of cloud cover we were issued ‘rain check vouchers’ and urged to come back at a later date.
Things that I learned from the show (excuse the non technical jargon):
- Black holes are collapsed stars. The stars go ‘super nova’ and collapse in on itself to become black holes.
- Gravity distorts space time (see more about Einstein’s theory of special relativity)
- It’s believed that when this happens huge amounts of gamma radiation is released.
- There’s a satellite telescope called The Swift which is in orbit, monitoring gamma rays, and which recently recorded a star plunging into a black hole.
- It is believed that there’s a black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, even though scientists have never seen it.
Visiting the Stardome and aquiring new knowledge – 4 out of 5 stars