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‘Phantom of the Universe’ to be presented March 12-April 30 at WKU’s Hardin Planetarium

Phantom of the Universe, Hardin Planetarium’s newest public show opening Sunday (March 12), shares how scientists around the world are collaborating to track down the constituents of dark matter in our universe.

“Because it cannot currently be observed, we don’t yet know what dark matter is,” said Dr. Richard Gelderman, Director of Hardin Planetarium. “The search is one of the most active and exciting areas of scientific research, as astrophysicists scan the night sky and designing ultrasensitive underground particle detectors in hopes of solving its mysteries.”

Phantom of the Universe will be presented March 12-April 30 at WKU's Hardin Planetarium.

Phantom of the Universe will be presented March 12-April 30 at WKU’s Hardin Planetarium.

Evidence suggests that dark matter makes up 85 percent of the total mass of the universe, yet has so far been detected only through its gravitational effects on cosmic objects that can be seen.

Dark matter would have been created with the Big Bang, and might finally be understood thanks to experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. From the journey of protons racing through the world’s largest atom smasher, to up-close views of the Big Bang and emergent universe, and the nearly mile-deep descent to an underground experiment in South Dakota, Phantom of the Universe immerses audiences in the search for dark matter.

“Phantom of the Universe connects science and art.” said Dr. Gelderman, who is also a Professor in WKU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “This wonderful show will get people excited about the mysteries of our universe.”

“The planetarium is the perfect place to experience this short, full-dome movie,” he said. “In the planetarium, the movie’s simulated particle collisions happen all around, and appear to burst across the dome.”

Phantom of the Universe runs through the end of April, every Sunday at 2 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. As with all public shows at Hardin Planetarium, Phantom of the Universe is offered at no cost, with no ticket required. More information is available at http://wku.edu/planetarium/.

Contact: Hardin Planetarium, (270) 745-4044

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