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Centered in the Universe

We often imagine ourselves at the center of things. That includes our place in the universe, ever since the first people looked up at the sky. Even as our scientific observation has shown the cosmos does not revolve around us, our ongoing investigations continue to keep us Centered in the Universe.

The premiere show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium uses state-of-the-art all-dome technologies to weave a story that transports audiences from familiar constellations to cosmic destinations beyond everyday experience. Every show is presented by a live, engaging, knowledgeable storyteller, supported by a Zeiss Universarium Mark IX star projector and all-dome digital animation projected through two Digistar 3 digital laser projectors from Evans & Sutherland. Centered in the Universe creates a sense of awe and wonder as it reveals our ever-expanding universe and the changing stories we have told ourselves about our place within it.

Show Times

Weekdays
1:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 8:45 p.m.

Weekends
11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 8:45 p.m.

The show opens with a glorious sunset projected by the Digistar 3 digital laser projection system and transforms into the most gorgeous, the most awe-inspiring, and the most accurate vault full of stars, all projected by the Zeiss Universarium Mark IX star projector. The live lecturer reminds us that people have always filled the sky with stories to explain the cycles of day and night, the circling of stars in the heavens, and the wandering of planets and to help them feel at home in the universe.

Then stories gave way to scientific theories. Ten minutes into the show, the Zeiss night sky fades to Alexandria, Egypt, circa 140 A.D. Using computer graphics in the immersive, 360-degree wrap-around environment of the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, the audience journeys from astronomer Claudius Ptolemy’s Earth-centered universe to Galileo’s Sun-centered solar system and on to Edwin Hubble at Mount Wilson Observatory, where he was forging our current view of the universe. Hubble realized the universe is not only incredibly vast but also expanding. Combining advanced technology, imagination, and the skills of astronomical animators, we are able to experience the Big Bang, travel through filaments of clusters of galaxies, and see the ultimate structure of the universe. Even as we scratch the surface of phenomena like dark energy and dark matter, we realize there is still more to be observed and discovered as we return home to the front lawn of Griffith Observatory. We have completed a voyage of evolving cosmic perspective.

Show Development

Centered in the Universe is made possible by a unique collaboration between Friends Of The Observatory and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Both have provided financial support for show development and equipment. In the process, a professional animation studio was created that is producing a planetarium show at a level of excellence that will delight general audiences, scientists, and animation specialists.

Griffith Observatory’s own astronomical artist, Don Dixon, directed the show and also co-wrote the script in collaboration with Dr. E. C. Krupp, Director of Griffith Observatory and a renowned expert on ancient astronomy, and André Bormanis, story editor for Star Trek Enterprise.

Other Shows

Water Is Life

Water Is Life was written and produced for Griffith Observatory’s fifth grade school field trip program. Drawing on the fifth grade science content standards, Water Is Life explores where our water in California comes from, and how water on Earth keeps us alive.

Show Times

Weekdays
12:45 p.m., 4:15 p.m.

Weekends
10:45 a.m., 3:15 p.m.

Light of the Valkyries

Light of the Valkyries takes us on a voyage of Viking cosmology and explores the true nature of the aurora borealis - the northern lights. The Vikings believed the northern lights were Valkyries, warrior spirits who descended from heaven to take fallen heroes from the battlefield to Valhalla, the palace of the gods.

There are no shows currently scheduled.

A Griffith Observatory Production

Dr. E.C. Krupp, Observatory Director
Sponsored by City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, and Friends Of The Observatory
Camille Lombardo, Executive Director

Director: Don Dixon
Executive Producer: Ann Hassett
Visual Effects Supervisor: Andrew Hofman
Visual Effects Producer: Bill Murphy
Art Director: Chris Butler
Writers: Don Dixon, Dr. E.C. Krupp, André Bormanis
Performance Director: Chris Shelton

Visual Effects

Lead 3D Artists: Jerry Weil, Tom Bradley, Zeth Dubois, Michael Kory
3D Artists: Patrick So, Craig Sylvester
Compositing Leads: August Coleman , Zeth Dubois
Compositors: Kevin O’ Neal, Robyn Kralik
Models & Textures: Dan Wanket, David Summers, Jessi Chang, Mark Shoaf
Editors: Shawn Crosby, Barrett Sanders, Don Dixon, Drew Anderson
Pre-Visualization: Michael Makara
Technical Development: Irv Moy, Barry Dempsey
Night Render Management: Bobby Coquia, Wally Chin, Vince Lavares

Original Music

Alan Ett, Scott Liggett, William Ashford, Alan Ett Music Group
Music Recording and Mix: Damon Tedesco
Music Editor: Irl Sanders
Music Project Coordinator: Levon Broussalian
Sound Design: Media City Sound, Jon Schell
Zeiss Programming and Theater Systems Coordination: Patrick So
Samuel Oschin Planetarium Sound Design: Drew Dalzell
Mt. Wilson Audio Recording: Esther Mera

Systems: Jeff Yana, Brian Cao, Vorak Ly, Robert Wimmer
Samuel Oschin Planetarium Projector Support: David Nakamoto
Payroll: Valerie Chamberlain, Heather Tarumoto
Research: Tony Cook

Special Thanks

Cliff Edson & Kath Hayes – RFX Hollywood
William Chen – Bell Computer
Wendy Wirthlin – Pixar Animation
Robin Scher – Smedge
Rick Balabuck – Maximum Throughput Inc.
Phil Christensen & Noel Gorelick – Arizona State University
Matt Fairclough – Planetside Software
Arndt von Koenigsmarc – Maxon Computer
David Seal – JPL
United States Air Force
Bill Ratner, Bob Niemack, Linda Barth, Dr. David Gold,
Kara Knack, John Mosley, Mark Pine, Dava Sobel