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Atwood Sphere Celebrates 100th Anniversary

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The Atwood Sphere exhibit at the Adler Planetarium. (Credit: Adler Planetarium)

The Atwood Sphere exhibit at the Adler Planetarium. (Credit: Adler Planetarium)


CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago are breaking out the birthday cake to mark the 100th anniversary of the facility’s historic Atwood Sphere.

The 17-foot-diameter large-scale mechanical planetarium opened in 1913 and museum officials say it’s the oldest one in the United States.

It shows the positions of the sky’s brightest stars by allowing light to come through 692 holes on its metal surface.

The sphere was first used to help teach pilots how to navigate the nighttime sky.

To mark the sphere’s anniversary, Adler officials are waiving admission on Wednesday for Illinois residents, giving away birthday cake and holding a series of other events.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)