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This weekend: IMAX 3D celebration at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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Films in three dimensions have come a long way since the anaglyph red/blue paper glasses of the 1950s: Now we have polarization systems ("RealD"), eclipse methods and much more to provide the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimension screen. As we reported in an IMAX 3D Night&Day piece in this week's print edition of Westword, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science jumped on the 3D bandwagon when the museum completely revamped its IMAX theater. And it's a pretty small bandwagon: Only three museums in the United States currently have the technology to screen IMAX films in 3D.

This weekend, the museum is celebrating its new theater with a plethora of special appearances and events.

There are two films currently screening at the IMAX theater, Hubble 3D and Under the Sea 3D, so all the extras are sea-or-space-related, and the weekend's festivities have been aptly named the Space and Sea Spectacular. Starting today, you can scope the "camera that saved Hubble," aka the Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). This baby-grand-piano sized camera has provided unprecedented (and amazing) photographs of the universe and is widely credited with saving the Hubble Space Telescope mission -- you can even see the pits in its outer shell caused by micrometeorite impacts during its years in orbit. No word yet on how long the museum will house WFPC2, but get there while you can to check out this amazing piece of history.

And that's not all. Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Steve Lee, the DMNS's space science curator, will discuss how he used the Hubble Space Telescope and WFPC2 to examine the weather on Mars. On Sunday, Astronaut Emeritus Bruce McCandless II will share stories of his space exploration and work designing Hubble -- he was one of the astronauts who carried the telescope into orbit in 1990. There will be a question-and-answer session with McCandless; that presentation begins at 12:30 p.m. And at 3 p.m. on Sunday, McCandless will discuss the WFPC2 and its features and instruments.

These special additions are free with museum admission (which does not include the IMAX films). For information and tickets, visit www.dmns.org or call 303-370-6000.

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