PDA

View Full Version : World's Most Technologically Advanced Planetarium



eeyoreguy
23-10-2008, 01:45 PM
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/morrison_planetarium

one of the most visually stunning and impressive examples of visual computing in San Francisco’s Morrison Planetarium, the new $20 million dollar facility that’s a part of the recently reopened California Academy of Sciences.

The Morrison Planetarium is a technological marvel, enabling astronomers not only to show traditional star charts, but to guide visitors through an immersive fly-through of our universe – realistically rendered in real-time.

Watchinherskip
24-10-2008, 01:41 PM
Gee, don't know how I could have missed this thread being a planetarium director and all. The new digital planetariums are really impressive. Whether using multi projection (like the one you mentioned - the dome is too big for one projector with fish eye lens) or single projectors the immersion is impressive. Of the 20 million I would estimate that half went for the dome and seating and the other for the actual planetarium,with its projectors and massive rendering computers. A local community college just put in a new digital planetarium and the single lensed (3 laser) projector, along with its water cooling system, rack of computers and controls cost 1.2 million.

We are applying for a NASA grant to get a digital system to replace our analog/mechanical projector. Today's guest are so used to great graphics that a traditonal show with a nice sky doesn't do it for them anymore. Also they don't make slide projectors, replacement parts or even slide mounts anymore so that is also forcing our hand.

keith
24-10-2008, 02:12 PM
How impressive are they? I mean do they "just" show the night sky or do they zoom in to show stuff like Skywatcher has been showing us images of and things?

Should I be making plans to find a great one nearby and go to see it?

Watchinherskip
24-10-2008, 04:28 PM
How impressive are they? I mean do they "just" show the night sky or do they zoom in to show stuff like Skywatcher has been showing us images of and things?

Should I be making plans to find a great one nearby and go to see it?


Oh yeah Keith, you def need to schedule a visit. The new systems let you be anywhere in the universe and go to anywhere in the universe...within the constraints of the mapping. For example a show may focus on Mars. You may be on Earth and the horizon line with show some panorama in 360 degrees. You might actually lift of the surface, leave Earth's orbit, watch as the moon flies past in 360 degrees and then orbit Mars - maybe even land and your new horizon is a Mars panarama with blowing wind and a red sky. Amazing stuff. Even the unit we are hoping to purchase (HD single projector for $185K) will do that. They have the latest Dolby sound systems, subwoofers etc. A total package.

We are a fairly small dome so we can get by with one lens projection. We currently can host 70 guests in a unidirectional theater. If we go to the new digital, we can add 6 more seats as the new unit is smaller than what we have.

The new systems also make it a surround theater, doesn't have to be about space anymore. Titles exist for all manner of shows for ocean life to molecules to Lewis and Clark, the Seven Wonders of the World etc. Look at the offerings nearby, and try one of the new digital shows.

Watchinherskip
24-10-2008, 04:30 PM
Yeah, looking back to the post Keith, yeah, you zoom right there..:pgot a little carried away..so sorry.

keith
24-10-2008, 04:57 PM
WOW ok thanks! That really sounds amazing

Watchinherskip
24-10-2008, 05:20 PM
Was just googleing to see what shows might be playing near you and make recommendations and I saw they closed the London Planetarium...wha..that is crazy!:shocked025:

Skywatcher
24-10-2008, 06:06 PM
indeed very sad but there is a new one at Greenwich

Watchinherskip
24-10-2008, 06:33 PM
indeed very sad but there is a new one at Greenwich

Cool will have to google it. Just had a first. I have been the director of the planetarium since 2002. Just now I had my very first visit from another planetarium guy. He ran the planetarium at Michigan State and Michigan U and some high school back in MI. He didn't even know we had a planetarium! Sheesh need to fire our PR people!

OOPS actually we did..er sort of, they were terminated with a lot of other city employees - budget cuts

Watchinherskip
24-10-2008, 06:38 PM
Just popped into the Royal Observatory's site. Looks like the kind we just put into the Tidewater Community College. They are very impressive. They use 3 lasers to provide the images. (RGB) They have some really old shows...don't waste time on the Cardboard Rocket! Black Holes show is an oldy but a goodie. I think the only really modern show (that is designed for this immersive planetarium) would be the Mars show. Lots of graphics to go about the sky.