Skip to main content
Bill Harlan

A noted astronomer and photographer from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago recently visited the 4850 Level to shoot time-lapse images for a new planetarium show about dark matter.

Jose Francisco Salgado is the director of photography for "Dark Secret of the Big Bang," which is being produced by physicist Michael Barnett of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

"Dark Secret" will include time-lapse photography and animations from the Sanford Lab and from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland.

During his visit to the 4850 Level, Salgado used a Nikon D800 digital single-lens reflex camera equipped with a fisheye lens to shoot time-lapse images at three locations: in the drift from the Ross Shaft to the Governor?s Corner, in the corridors from the Big X to the cart wash, and inside the Davis Campus. In the Davis Campus, Salgado donned a clean suit to enter the LUX dark matter detector's water tank. He mounted his camera on a motorized dolly rail to photograph the detector itself, mounted in the center of the tank.

The operations, science and communications departments assisted Salgado, and he sends special thanks to Infrastructure Tech Bill Heisinger, Administrative Assistant Jaye Conrad, LUX physicist Simon Fiorucci and Multimedia Specialist Matt Kapust, who provided support.

The website for the work-in-progress planetarium show includes a storyboard and some ?developmental videos.? (Sanford Lab images have not been posted yet.) "This is the amazing story of how we discovered that most of the matter of the Universe is an extraordinary invisible type," the website says. "Experiments are underway deep underground to detect the actual presence of these particles on Earth." That's the cue for LUX.

Salgado has his own website, which includes some amazing videos and images. In addition to serving as anastronomer and visual artist at the Adler Planetarium, Salgado also is executive director of KV 265, a nonprofit group that communicates science through art. His work has been shown in more than 50 countries, and his resume includes astronomy films shown in collaboration with the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Czech National Symphony and other symphonies around the world.

"Dark Secret of the Big Bang" is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. Look for it in planetariums in 2013.