Grand Central's Sky Ceiling

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by KDKerr on May 6, 2005

In 1994, a restoration of Grand Central's "Sky Ceiling" depicting the zodiacal constellations began and was completed in 1998. It was meticulously cleaned to reveal its aquamarine color, and shimmering paint along with gold leaf was applied to the stars to help them shine. However, sixty of them, such as Betelgeuse and Aldebaran, are actually illuminated by fiber-optic lights. For a few weeks around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, laser shows or video displays are projected onto the vaulted ceiling.

Renovators left a small black square along the arched portion of the ceiling above Michael Jordan's The Steak House NYC to record just how dirty it was before the restoration.

Stargazers may notice that the constellations are painted in reverse. While the ceiling was being cleaned in the late '90s, a plaque was posted to provide an explanation for the error. The sign says "Grand Central's famous zodiac ceiling depicts a Mediterranean winter sky with 2,500 stars. Said to be backwards, it's actually as seen from a point of view from outside our solar system. You can watch the stars come out as we clean the ceiling in sections with a simple solution of soap and water." In reality, outside of the solar system, the stars will look almost the same as they do from Earth... they are much farther away than any object in our solar system.

Grand Central Terminal
87 E 42nd St
New York, New York
(212) 340-2210

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