Visualization lab offers free ‘out-of-world’ experiences

Peer deep into space through the eyes of the orbiting Hubble Telescope. Travel back billions of years to witness the birth of the universe. Get an up-close look at ancient Egyptian pyramids.

The Colgate and central New York communities can experience these breathtaking excursions inside Colgate’s Ho Tung Visualization Laboratory, which is now open for free public screenings.

The 55-seat digital theater — housed on the fourth floor of the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center — is a state-of-the-art facility with the ability to project images on a 33-foot dome screen similar to that of an IMAX movie theater.

“Colgate’s thrilled to be able to share the excitement surrounding the visualization lab with the central New York community. The facility rivals similar ones found in bigger cities like Boston and New York,” said Joe Eakin, senior visualization lab designer and technician. “Visitors will be blown away by the out-of-this-world experience inside the lab,” added Eakin.

Kiko Galvez, professor of physics and astronomy, leads one of the programs available at the Ho Tung Visualization Lab.

The hour-long screenings will include a feature film and tour of the night’s sky followed by a question and answer session. “Wonders of the Universe” and “Seven Wonders” are currently showing in the visualization lab. “Spooky Skies,” a Halloween show for children, is scheduled to run the week prior to Halloween.

The hi-tech facility will also serve as a powerful teaching tool for central New York school groups. Educators can choose a production from a catalogue of shows or the visualization lab staff can create content that meets specific academic needs.

A number of Colgate faculty members, including astronomy professor Anthony Aveni, are already integrating the new technology into their coursework. Aveni has teamed up with Eakin to create a guided tour of Stonehenge, one of several projects they’re collaborating on.

“The visualization lab was designed not only as a stage for dazzling presentations, but also as a place where faculty and students might create opportunities for interactive learning,” said Aveni.

Click here for show information and to make reservations, which are required.


“Wonders of the Universe”
7 p.m. Fridays & 11 a.m. Saturdays
On this adventure, you’ll witness the formation of galaxies and explore some of the most wondrous nebulae and astronomical structures yet discovered. As your travels continue, you’ll fly deep into our own Milky Way galaxy and return home to Earth on a spectacular tour through the solar system.

“Seven Wonders”
8:30 p.m. Fridays & 12:30 p.m. Saturdays
Turn back the pages of time and witness the ancient wonders of the world as they appeared thousands of years ago. Travel to Egypt to visit the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Great Pyramids, to Persia to see the original Mausoleum, to Babylon to explore the fabled Hanging Gardens, to Greece to tour the Temples of Zeus and Artemis, and to Rhodes to stand in the shadow of the towering Colossus.

“Spooky Skies”
7 p.m. Oct. 21- Oct. 23 & Oct. 28 – Oct 30
The Halloween sky is more than just a backdrop for wicked witches and a big yellow moon. Outer space is home to some fantastic objects far more terrible than the usual monsters. What does a werewolf have on a inescapable black hole, a noxious, deadly planet like Venus or a crushing, dangerous supernova?