Adler Planetarium

Space Visualization Laboratory (SVL)

Check Out Our SVL

In this working laboratory scientists, technology experts, artists, and educators work together to create new ways for people to virtually explore the Universe. Since its inauguration in 2007, the SVL has brought cutting edge research from scientists in the most prominent institutions around the country, as well as immersive and interactive technologies to the museum floor. In SVL visitors can experience new interactive and immersive visualizations, and attend presentations by astronomers and related researchers featuring these visualizations. 

Visit the SVL


Open Lab

Want to check out the latest visualizations and applications developed in the Lab and play with new interactive devices? During SVL Open Lab hours, look behind-the-scenes at the technology and processes astronomers use to construct visualizations to explore data. 

Monday – Friday: 12-1 pm

FREE with general admission


Astronomy Conversations

Have you always wanted to meet the people behind the science at the Adler? During Astronomy Conversations, you can exchange ideas with Adler space science and technology experts and learn more about ongoing Adler projects. 

Monday – Friday: 2-3 pm
Sunday: 1-3 pm

FREE with general admission


KICP Saturdays

Be part of a dynamic dialogue with researchers from the University of Chicago's Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (KICP) who provide first hand accounts of their work which is taking place at the South Pole, deep mines, and distant mountain peaks in Chile.

Saturday: 1-3 pm

FREE with general admission

Featured SVL Projects

Two Eyes 3D

Mark SubbaRao,  Ph.D. 
Julieta Aguilera 
Jose Francisco Salgado, Ph.D.

An NSF funded AAVSO project, lead by Dr. Aaron Price in conjunction with the Adler Planetarium and the Boston Museum of Science, studies the effect of stereoscopic representations on science education. Adler visitors who participated in the study filled up a motion sensitive survey on an iPad, before and after watching a 2D or 3D movie on either supernova or the shape of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Worldwide Telescope

Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D.

Microsoft Research’s Worldwide Telescope (WWT) is a visualization software that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope. Adler SVL staff contributed to the WWT by helping to build the extra-galactic dataset and developing guided tours that allow users to view the center of the Milky Way. Worldwide Telescope was used to create Adler's latest show, Cosmic Wonder.

Cosmic Web Poster

Julieta Aguilera
Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D.

In collaboration with Miguel Angel Aragon-Calvo, Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Julieta Aguilera, and Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D. created the poster "The Cosmic Web" which won the Informational Graphics category of the 2011 National Science Foundation Visualization Challenge. The poster was also chosen to appear on the February 2012 issue cover of Science Magazine.

Making Galaxies

Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D.
Jose Francisco Salgado, Ph.D.
Julieta Aguilera

This high-definition stereoscopic video is a joint production of the SVL and the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. It explores the interplay between observations and simulations and features state of the art scientific visualizations.