Opened to the public on Feburary 19, 2000, the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space is an extensive update of the old Hayden Planetarium, which dated back to 1935. The 0 million, 335,000-square foot building, designed by James Polshek, features a seven-story-tall glass cube that encloses the iconic 87-foot-diameter Hayden Sphere.
The top half of the Hayden Sphere houses the Space Theater, one of the world’s pre-eminent planetariums, which incorporates high-resolution fulldome video to create “space shows." The Big Bang Theater occupies the bottom half. Utilizing a screen that measures 36 feet in diameter over an eight-foot deep bowl, a four-minute program depicts the birth of the universe, with a voiceover by Maya Angelou. The Big Bang Theater serves as an introduction to the Heilbrun Cosmic Pathway, a spiral which wraps around the sphere, connecting the second and first floors of the Rose Center. The cosmic pathway provides a timeline of the universe’s history from the Big Bang to the present day.
The Gottesman Hall of the Planet Earth has displays that illustrate the Earth’s geological history and weather patterns. The Cullman Hall of the Universe focuses on topics ranging from planets to stars, life on other worlds to current cosmology. The Scales of the Universe exhibit makes comparisons between the size of the Hayden Sphere and other objects in the universe presented at appropriate relative scale. There is also a photographic exhibit about the Apollo moon landings.
In 2007, The Rose Center for Earth and Space was ranked #33 on the AIA 150 America’s Favorite Architecture list.