Planetarium supervisor produces ‘Touching the Universe’

Nov 11th, 2009 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, Issue, November 12, 2009

Mueller Planetarium at the University of Nebraska State Museum is now showing “Touching the Universe,” a new fulldome show featuring photography from three amateur astrophotographers based in the Midwest.

“Touching the Universe” shows at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 22 in the planetarium in Morrill Hall.

The show was writtten and directed by Jack Dunn, Mueller Planetarium supervisor. “Touching the Universe” is the first full-length program Dunn has produced in the fulldome format.

“It was a real challenge to learn the new software and to compose for a different medium than the old slide-based or video productions,” Dunn said. “In the end, it was great to work on something that allows audiences to see and experience these images from a new perspective.”

space photo
“Touching the Universe” features outer space images taken by amateur photographers. The show includes this image of the M81 galaxy taken by Richard Johnson.

“Touching the Universe” showcases the work of Richard Johnson of Bemidji, Minn., Taylor Chonis of Austin, Texas, and Martin Ratcliffe of Wichita, Kan. Audiences will be immersed in huge projections of planets, galaxies and nebulae on the planetarium dome.

The show will be preceded by a short introduction to the current night sky and followed by a brief fulldome program about NASA’s IBEX mission to explore the boundaries of the solar system. The entire presentation will last approximately 40 minutes.

“Touching the Universe” was produced under a grant from the Nebraska NASA Spacegrant Consortium in connection with a display of astrophotography that is traveling the state of Nebraska as part of the International Year of Astronomy. Select photographs from the program will be on display inside the planetarium as audiences enter and exit the theater.


Admission to the museum is free for faculty, staff, students and immediate family with a valid NCard. Tickets to the planetarium for faculty, staff, students and immediate family are $3. For more information, including additional admission prices, go to

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