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See, ABC's forthcoming Impact miniseries, in which a meteor shower sends the moon careening toward the earth, isn't all junk science. A new planetarium show demonstrates that such celestial collisions can be common, devastating — and strangely beautiful.
Cosmic Collisions, a new show at the Hayden Planetarium at New York's American Museum of Natural History, displays what happens when celestial bodies bump into each other, which, despite the vast emptiness of space, happens surprisingly often. Narrated by Robert Redford, the show recreates some celebrated crashes, from the wandering planetoid whose collision with the earth resulted in the formation of the moon, to the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, to the solar particles that hurtle towards the earth at a million miles an hour whenever solar winds flare, to the intergalactic pileup that will result when our Milky Way galaxy bumps up against Andromeda in a few billion years. (Fortunately, stars are so far apart that the galaxies should pass right through each other.) Even if you can't make it to New York for the show, the Musuem offers plenty of stellar material online, including a lot more photos where these came from.