The South Florida Museum is offering you a whole new way to look at the universe.
The Bishop Planetarium at the museum recently unveiled a new computer and projection system that's light years beyond the seven-year old system it had been using. In fact, a planetarium official said the new half-million-dollar system is so technologically advanced that it's as good as any other planetarium system in the world.
Today, the museum is holding an open house to let people their first look.
Jeff Rodgers, the planetarium's director, said the new system is three times brighter and has 10 times more contrast than the old one. Anyone who saw the planetarium a few weeks ago and visits again now will notice the difference immediately, he said.
The new system also has a map of the entire visible universe, so Rodgers can take visitors on a guided tour past the limits of our galaxy, or to look down on earth and seen volcanoes, weather systems and other natural phenomena that are actually occurring.
The entire museum is free to explore during the open house. So if for some reason you're not into seeing one of the best planetarium systems in the world, you and your kids can enjoy astronomy games and activities, manatee presentations and any of the exhibits in museum's galleries.
Details: 5-7 p.m. Nov. 7, Bishop Planetrarium at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton. Tickets: Free. Information: 941-746-4131, www.southfloridamuseum.org.
-- Marty Clear