date: 10.06.2023 current local time in Toruń:
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Throughout the ages of his existence Man has been suspended between the Cellestial and the Terrestrial Worlds. The Sky was distant, mysterious and unchangeable. And so was the Earth, strangely enough. Even though man has lived on it for such a long time, he was neither able to comprehend it nor predict its future. Throughout the millenia of human history the Earth has been basically unchanged, which does not mean, however, that it is eternal. Even the earliest religions had some forms of mythology which aimed to explain the origin of our home planet. But the setting of the time during which our planet was born created a more serious problem, which usually boils down to the most general statement regarding the “in the beginning...” phrase.

This planetarium show is based on various legends concerning the beginning of our home planet, namely those originating in Ancient China, as well as it draws on mythologies of such cultures as Aztecas and Apachee Indians. The last element of the programme - sequentially - features the Biblical Genesis.

The first person to ‘calculate’ the date of the Earth’s birth was Archbishop Ussher. On the basis of his analysis of Biblical texts he estimated the date of Terrestrial birthday to fall on 9 October, 4004 B. C. at 9 a. m. ! Ussher lived merely 400 years ago, but since his time the Earth has ‘aged’ by a million times. Now we know that the age of this plantet is estimated to be 4.5 billion years.

At the time of 4.5 billion years ago the Sun, the Earth and other planets were practically non-existent, but were in the process of the making within a gigantic gaseous cloud. The primeval Earth was a highly inhospitable place. It was being embraced by oceans of lava, erupting from numerous volcanoes. All this process was accompanied by continuous rains dense with cosmic debris.

With the passage of time the Earth’s crust was gradually formed and the first atmosphere and oceans began to emerge. Regardless of these processes, throughout the first three billion years, the Earth still looked desolate and barren, like a desert. The fundamental change took place underwater. That’s where life began.

Early living organisms were highly primitive. Gradually, as evolutionary processes gained more speed, multicellular organisms appeared on the sea-bed, hydras and various kinds of worm-like creatures. Along with the further passage of time, the first vertebrates, namely, ancient fish came into existence. Around the time of 600 million years ago life on Earth took one more leaping stride, and the turning point was the migration of some oceanic creatures ashore.

Along with the passage of time continents changed in terms of their shape, size and location. The continental drift had already been in progress for a few hundreds of years when the first amphibians appeared, later followed by reptiles.

The dinosaurs ruled the planet for 100 million years. But that era, after a huge cosmic disaster 65 million years ago, was followed by another turning point - the decline of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals.

Around 10 million years ago, a species of apes in East Africa entered a new and unusual path of development, which at its very end resulted in the final appearance of Homo Sapiens on the terrestrial stage.

From the very beginning of human civilization, the fundamental question concerning the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life on the neighbouring planets has kept on reappearing. The development of natural sciences allowed us to find the answer, which, unfortunately, is not very promising.

Mercury, the planet which is closest to the Sun, has a surface far too hot for life to develop and survive. Venus, the Twin planet of the Earth, was believed for a long time to be friendly enough to provide home for living creatures. In spite of this space probes revealed the totally ‘infernal’ nature of this globe, which obviously also excludes any possibility of life to survive on its surface. The most optimistic predictions concerned the Red Planet of Mars. But it turned out to be devoid of life too, in spite of the fact that there used to be rivers and oceans on its surface.

It seems that Jupiter is too distant from the Sun to support any life forms, but, who knows (?), Europe, one of the Jupiter’s satellites seems to be friendly enough to give us at least a gist of hope that living organisms can be found there. Saturn, with its largest sattelite Titan, is the planet whose orbit is still much further away from that of Jupiter. Saturn reminds one of the image of the Earth from its most remote, primeval stage of existence.

So far only one celestial body in the Solar System which supports life has been found, namely the Earth.

The Earth’s natural history is inseparably linked to the existence of its only natural sattelite, the Moon. Even though it was observed by many from the very beginning of human existence, it was only Gallileo who had a proper closer look at it through the telescope which he had constructed. Today the Moon is one of the best explored celestial bodies. And it is the only one to have been visited by manned space expeditions. It was only recently, however, that we began to understand how the Moon came into being. All scientific data show that its creation took place during a gigantic cosmic disaster during the formation of the Solar System. As a result of a collision of Proto-Earth with another planet, a huge share of matter was hurled into the orbit which gave the Moon its beginning.

Billions of years that followed witnessed the further shaping of the moon’s surface by continuous bombardment by meteorites and other cosmic debris of variours shapes and sizes. The present appearence of the Moon is the result of this long and varied history.

The Moon has been of extraordinary importance to the shaping of life on our planet. Its presence on its orbit around the Earth had a stabilizing effect on the Earth’s axis. High and low oceanic tides, resulting from the interplay of the Moon’s and the Sun’s gravitational pulls, brought about millions of years ago the gradual migration of certain organisms ashore. Moreover, the Moon provides us with unforgettable sights during Solar eclipes.

Perhaps in the future the Moon will become our second home, as well as a ‘springboard’ for future interplanetary journeys. Even though it is difficult to predict the future of our civilization, it is not difficult to predict the future of this planet five billion years away from now.

In five billion years’ time the Sun will reach the evolutionary stage of a Red Giant. It will become huge, red and relatively cold. It will become so huge that its surface will surpass the orbit of the earth. The survival of life will be totally impossible. But this is not the end of the story. The oceans will evaporate, the atmosphere will all fade away into the outer space and the rocks will all melt down. The last stage of the Solar evolution will witness the Sun collapsing, abandoning its external surface and turning into a white dwarf - the Solar core interior that will be cooling down for billions of years ... leaving terrestrial remnants behind in freezing darkness.

We are lucky enough to have enough time before it happens. At this very moment it is the human species which poses the most danger to this planet. It is man who is responsible for disastrous global changes that are comparable with those that took place at the time of the extinction of dinosaurs.

Hopefully, the Man has understood or, at least, will soon come to understand the importance of the Earth as the unique place for all its inhabitants.

This undestanding involves the fundamental proposition that the Earth is the only home of the human race.
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