To mark the 10th anniversary of the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space, the American Museum of Natural History announced the launch of its third application for iPhone and iPod touch, American Museum of Natural History: Cosmic Discoveries.
Free and easy to use, Cosmic Discoveries features an interactive photo-mosaic comprising 1000 stunning images stitched together to form one of the most iconic shapes in our Solar system—the gas giant Saturn and its rings. These images are drawn from the Museum’s archives and Science Bulletins, as well as dozens of space agencies and observatories around the world. Clicking on each image in the mosaic reveals detailed information about an array of cosmic phenomena – including planets, stars, and other celestial bodies.
Cosmic Discoveries also features in-depth stories about Comets, Galactic Clusters, Pulsars, X-Ray Galaxy Clusters, Protostars and Very Young Stars, Neutrino Bursts, Planetary Nebulae, and Planets in the Solar System, chronicling how they were discovered, who discovered them, and other interesting facts. In order to spark real-time conversations about space and its exploration between astronauts, astrophysicists, and aspiring amateurs, the app also includes built-in social networking functionality that allows users to easily share images, notes and comments with each other.
“This new mobile application is another exciting example of how the Museum is leveraging innovative digital tools across a variety of platforms to present scientific discoveries in new and interesting ways to a growing audience across the globe,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “Cosmic Discoveries builds on the popularity and success of our first two apps and honors the tradition of the Rose Center, which, for a decade, has used cutting-edge technology to bring the latest research in the physical sciences to the public.”
Cosmic Discoveries was produced by the Museum’s Digital Media Department and curated by Dr. Michael Shara, a leading scientist and Curator in the Department of Astrophysics whose research interests include the structure and evolution of novae and supernovae; collisions between stars and the remnant descendants of those collisions; and the populations of stars inhabiting star clusters and galaxies. Emily Rice, a postdoctoral researcher and astrophysics content advisor for Science Bulletins, and Brian Abbott, Manager of the Digital Universe, contributed important expertise.
“The classes of astronomical objects in this introductory release were chosen to span the widest range in size possible, from the subatomic neutrino all the way up to Clusters of Galaxies,” said Dr. Michael Shara, Curator in the Department of Astrophysics. “Still, we could only scratch the surface because modern astrophysics is so rich in subject matter. Future chapters will allow us to explore many more Cosmic Discoveries.”
The American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space is renowned for its use of cutting-edge technology to present the results of actual scientific research. Its opening marked an unprecedented transition from static planetarium shows to space shows, dynamic multimedia experiences that leverage the Digital Universe—an extensive database of astronomical objects. Started a decade ago, the Digital Universe transforms scientific data and mathematical algorithms into realistic and accurate renderings of the known cosmos and animates them across the 87-foot wide, seven million pixel dome of the Hayden Planetarium.
Cosmic Discoveries was developed in celebration of this exciting tradition of innovation andis the latest offering of the Museum’s expanding digital platform which enables public access to the Museum’s extensive resources in science, education, and exhibition—whether they are visiting on site or online. By anticipating the new ways that people access, learn, and share information today, the digital platform integrates the experience of visiting the Museum with a variety of mobile offerings that extend the Museum’s impact beyond its walls and put the wonder and excitement of discovery into the palm of one’s hand.