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A Trip Beyond the Edge of the Observable Universe

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Carter Emmart

Carter Emmart, the director of astrovisualization at the Hayden Planetarium, explains the institution's Digital Universe Atlas project.

Daniel Terdiman / CNET

If you want to see what outer space looks like, there may be no better way to do so than to have Carter Emmart take you on a ride there.

In his role as director of visualization at the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space, Emmart is the leading force behind the programming for that institution's famous Hayden Planetarium. With the 2009 show, "Journey to the Stars," that treats visitors to a front-row seat on a high-paced jaunt to the edge of the universe and back, Emmart and the more than 40 other scientists responsible for the program have struck gold.

But I'd have to say I got luckier than most who have seen the show. While I didn't get a chance to see "Journey to the Stars" projected inside the planetarium's wonderful dome, I did get to see it—and have Emmart explain it to me, nearly frame by frame, in the Rose Center's computer room. There, we watched the show on six computer monitors, each of which displayed the content of one of the six projectors inside the planetarium. All told, then, I saw the entire show, just fractured into six pieces—and I have to say, that's a different and very interesting experience.

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