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Space Technology

Inside the World's Most Advanced Planetarium 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the laser-floyd-will-never-be-the-same dept.
notthatwillsmith writes "Earlier this month, the most technologically-advanced digital planetarium in the world opened in San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences. The new Morrison Planetarium's 75-foot screen replaces the traditional Zeiss projector with an array of 6 high-resolution DLP projectors arrayed around the edge of the theater, which are powered by three very different, but interesting computing clusters. The three clusters allow for projection of traditional planetarium shows, playback of ultra-high resolution movies, and display of anything from current atmospheric conditions on Earth to a (greatly accelerated) trip to the farthest reaches of the universe, all rendered in real-time on an 8800 sq. ft. dome. Maximum PC went on a behind the scenes tour with the engineers who built the systems that do everything from run the planetarium lights to the sound systems to the tech behind the screen to show you how it works and what it's like to drive, well ... the universe."
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Inside the World's Most Advanced Planetarium

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  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @10:29PM (#25477687)

    This thing sounds expensive. I wonder if this ended up costing more than the $3,000,000 that the Alder Planetarium payed for it's high-tech projection system.

    When, in a recent debate, McCain was reaching for an example of ridiculous pork that he demonstrates spending that's run out of control, he mentioned this as a paradigmatic waste of money: "Three million dollars for a (heh heh) projector." See the story here [about.com].

    Be glad he doesn't read Slashdot!

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @10:59PM (#25477895) Journal
      I was seriously annoyed when I saw that. It is perfectly legitimate to argue that federal money shouldn't(or should) be spent on planetarium hardware; but describing a planetarium projection system as an "overhead projector" is seriously pushing the bounds of honesty. If you think that educational hardware is a bad use of federal money, fine, come out and say so; but don't set up a ridiculous strawman(actual overhead projectors cost less than $500, anybody would be stupid to pay $3,000,000).
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I was seriously annoyed when I saw that. It is perfectly legitimate to argue that federal money shouldn't(or should) be spent on planetarium hardware; but describing a planetarium projection system as an "overhead projector" is seriously pushing the bounds of honesty. If you think that educational hardware is a bad use of federal money, fine, come out and say so; but don't set up a ridiculous strawman(actual overhead projectors cost less than $500, anybody would be stupid to pay $3,000,000).

        Damned right on

        • but... unless McCain and Palin win, what will we professional comedians do for material for the next four years?

          Ok, I'm in pre-sales, but it's the same line of work.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by walt-sjc (145127)

            They will make fun of the other guy. Making fun of presidents is a party neutral national past time.

        • by Rakarra (112805)

          Excuse me mods, but it's neither flamebait nor inaccurate to refer to Sarah Palin as a 'dizzy bitch.' She's pretty much made that her campaign theme as the small-town outsider who is here to teach us city folk that the rural life is more honest, American living. Apparently I don't live in Real America, and I make non-American voting choices.

      • by speaker4thedead (193887) <sam.walters@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @11:29PM (#25478067)

        Since when were the presidential debates about honesty?

      • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:14AM (#25478309) Homepage Journal

        but describing a planetarium projection system as an "overhead projector" is seriously pushing the bounds of honesty.

        I heard it mentioned in 2 of the debates. The way McCain described it could be interpreted either as a planetarium or an office-style overhead projector (as I remember it). I'll give him the benefit of a doubt, for its not something familiar to most politicians.

        More interesting, however, was how Obama handled it. In my opinion, Obama's approach was brilliant: he *ignored* the point both times. Most listeners are probably thinking, "If a planetarium projector (with possible educational value) is the worse pork McCain can site, then he's wasting time fussing about nitty little things when we are teetering on a potential repeat of the 30's."

        Knowing when to shut up is an important campaign skill (and one lost on Biden apparently :-). Obama let McCain happily eat himself rather than get caught up in tit-for-tat over that.

        • by osu-neko (2604)

          I'll give him the benefit of a doubt...

          Well, depending on what you think he thinks it means, you have to characterize him as either dishonest or stupid. When you say you'll give him the benefit of the doubt, I'm wondering which one of those you consider to be the benefit of the doubt.

          Unfortunately, I'm having a lot of these moments with McCain. He's constantly saying things that make me think he's either trying to pull one over on people, or he's actually stupid enough to believe it himself. I don't know which is true, but it's really not goo

        • by dpilot (134227)

          > In my opinion, Obama's approach was brilliant: he *ignored* the point both times.

          I noticed it, too. I rather wish that Obama had gone on the offensive, with the fact that US students are falling behind on math and science. His so-called overhead projector was part of an attempt to inspire children with science and engineering - something the nation badly needs right now - something corporate America and CEOs have been teaching us is a bad career path by exporting those jobs overseas. It dovetails wi

          • by Tablizer (95088)

            His so-called overhead projector was part of an attempt to inspire children with science and engineering

            But it may come across as an impractical toy to some voters. Obie has to counter his "dreamy" image during the campaign.

            inspire children with science and engineering - something the nation badly needs right now

            I have to disagree. Companies find it cheaper to do basic research overseas. It cannot be our comparative advantage. The comparative advantage of the US is bringing new products to consumers becau

            • by dpilot (134227)

              > I have to disagree. Companies find it cheaper to do basic research overseas. It cannot be
              > our comparative advantage. The comparative advantage of the US is bringing new products
              > to consumers because 3rd-world country consumers cannot afford cutting edge. (It's an
              > interesting discussion that would take more room here.)

              I see that very statement as a problem, though I don't disagree with what you say, I see it as something that needs to be fixed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jlarocco (851450)

      Must you idiots turn every fucking article into an anti-McCain or anti-Obama flamefest? Both popular candidates suck. Get over it. If you really must whine about politics,take it to one of the millions of websites dedicated to that shit. This isn't one of them.

      • by osu-neko (2604)

        Must you idiots turn every fucking article into an anti-McCain or anti-Obama flamefest?

        You must be new here. Welcome to Slashdot! :D

      • SIgh... Use your mod points.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by walt-sjc (145127)

          Why don't you use yours? But seriously, I am so tired of all the political BS too. The Parent AND GP are right. I'd say mod down any post that flames either candidate. Throw Bush in there too. We all know his record, what kind of man he is, what kind of man his VP is. We have all already made up our minds. No need to keep harping on it. It serves no purpose.

      • by fredrated (639554)

        Don't want people to know where your candidate stands? Then maybe you should admit that your candidate is an ignorant fool.

    • by walt-sjc (145127)

      Has anyone been to the digital projection planetarium at the Smithsonian? The thing was UNWATCHABLE. Blurry as hell and WAY out of alignment. Hope this new one is a LOT better for that money.

    • by DeltaStorm (118517) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @08:00AM (#25480331) Homepage

      They didn't even get the money. They released a statement after the debate http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/pressroom/pr/2008_10_08_AdlerStatement_aboutdebate.pdf [adlerplanetarium.org]

    • by alisson (1040324)

      I believe he continued to say "LOL knowledge is dumb!"

  • I would like one of the red-backlit keyboards they have in the control room pictures.
  • by chenjeru (916013)
    I have a strange bone disease that doesn't let me say the 'T' in plan-e'arium.
  • I think you mean "Maximum PC went on a behind-the-scenes tour ..."

  • Home version (Score:4, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @10:47PM (#25477819) Journal

    I've been thinking of buying a projector for my 3 month old son's bedroom when he's just a little older (I've read their distance vision improves at 8 months). That plus decent planetarium software would let me project the stars on the ceiling for him at night. I've got a spare PC that'd do fine but unfortunately it's over AUD1000 for a semi decent projector (and a few hundred dollars a pop for the lamps - that's the real killer). I can't justify that. Plus it would give me a flat not spherical projection.

    I can't think of anything mid way in between those garbage home projectors that project lines on your ceiling for the constellations, and a full blown projector setup.

    • Re:Home version (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @11:00PM (#25477899)

      I can think of a couple of options for you here.

      First, don't worry too much about the flat. That can be fixed in software (as is already done for key-stoning). Although if you can't code your own display software you may indeed be in trouble here.

      Secondly for a bedroom at night, you won't really need that bright a bulb. And since the reason for the high cost is for the number of lumens, you might actually be able to cheaper. I know my phone on 'white' will light up bits of the room bright enough to be stars, so maybe some sort of kit starting with a neo and an appropriate lens?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Search amazon for "star projector". I think a ~$100 quiet mini planetarium projector with good resolution, field of view and black levels would be amazingly better for this task. I kind of doubt they can correct for non-spherical rooms, but who knows.
      • by syousef (465911)

        The star projectors are what I was referring to when I said garbage sick figure projector. I don't want my son thinking of the constellations as stick figures where the lines can't be turned off.

    • by jewelises (739285) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @11:07PM (#25477937)
      It might be cheaper to just get a glass ceiling.
      • by billsnow (1334685)
        I know it's a joke, but I suspect it's part of the reason why most planetariums are in cities. I grew up in New Jersey (lots of light and air pollution), and was blown away on my first camping trip in upstate ny.
        • by jewelises (739285)

          I grew up in New Jersey (lots of light and air pollution), and was blown away on my first camping trip in upstate ny.

          So what you're saying is that without the pollution it was much more windy?

          • by WCguru42 (1268530)

            I grew up in New Jersey (lots of light and air pollution), and was blown away on my first camping trip in upstate ny.

            So what you're saying is that without the pollution it was much more windy?

            No, what he's saying is that those of us in the Fake America have fake skies unlike those people in the Real America.

      • Re:Home version (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:19AM (#25478329) Homepage

        i know you were joking, but we actually had that when i was a kid.

        back when i was in 1st~3nd grade my parents and i lived in a rural part of Taipei (Taiwan) in my Grandma's house along with my uncles and their families. it was a traditional clan home, so my parents and i shared a single large bedroom, as did each of my uncles' families. each bedroom was sorta like a single-room apartment, so most of my uncles had TVs in their rooms, and one of them even had a home theater setup complete with a professional grade sound system.

        we'd just moved back to Taiwan so aside from the bed, all we had was an old 386 (ok, it wasn't really "old" at the time) running DOS. consequently, our bedroom was pretty spartan (read: ghetto) compared to the rest of the house. and since our bedroom was in the interior of the house, we didn't have any outside windows for direct sunlight. so my dad decided to have a "sunroof" installed right above our bed, which provided natural lighting during the day, and so that at night we could look up and see the stars.

        my cousins and i stayed up many nights sitting under that sunroof with a bunch of snacks bought from the local 7-11 just enjoying the night sky.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          my cousins and i stayed up many nights sitting under that sunroof with a bunch of snacks bought from the local 7-11 just enjoying the night sky.

          Around the same time you got that slashdot handle?

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          my cousins and i stayed up many nights sitting under that sunroof with a bunch of snacks bought from the local 7-11 just enjoying the night sky.

          Taiwan has 7-11's? How sad. And here I though the rest of the world had been spared the blight of convenience stores. :-P

          Cheers

          • heh, Taiwan probably has more convenient stores per square mile than any other country in the world--about one on each block. it honestly seems like there's a 7-11 or Circle-K at every street corner. sometimes there'll even be convenient stores on all four corners of an intersection--and Americans think Starbucks is bad.

            they're kinda like WalMarts there. they have all kinds snacks & junk food (Taiwan has the best potato chips =P), fast-food like steamed buns, Zonzi [wikipedia.org], Tea-leaf egg [wikipedia.org], hotdogs, sandwiches, ra

      • by jewelises (739285)

        It might be cheaper to just get a glass ceiling.

        ... of course, I make this suggestion under the assumption that you've finally moved out of your mother's basement.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Taibhsear (1286214)

        My ceiling is my mother's main floor you insensitive clod!

      • A glass ceiling? Then your kid grows up thinking he can never reach upper management.

        Plus he'll have a great view of bird poop.

    • Re:Home version (Score:5, Informative)

      by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @11:59PM (#25478253)

      I use Stellarium (stellarium.org) on Linux on a large (47") TV. It is as cool as a planetarium, with more bells and whistles than you'd need. It works fine on a 32" too.

      If what Stellarium ain't enough and I need Imperial cruisers and a Death star here and there, I use Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/) with some custom add-ons. Extra benefits if you let kids design their own universes.

      The third piece is cartes du ciel, but I mostly use that to plan my observations.

      • by syousef (465911)

        I use all 3 bits of software and love them. I also have an old copy of Starry Night Backyard that works nicely (though isn't free software). The issue si I don't have a large screen TV and if I did, I wouldn't put it in the baby's bedroom. A cheap projector would be ideal.

        • by siddesu (698447)

          That is true, not every solution is ideal for everyone.

          What I did when I was a kid (before software and big screen TVs) was even simpler -- I got one package them phosphorescent paper stars with the sticky backs, painted my ceiling dark blue, and just glued the stars all over the place.

          and one day i got a black light lamp ... it was very useful even in highschool, the girls liked it a lot.

          you can draw the constellations for extra credit :-D

          Good luck with your project, and put it on the web when you're finis

          • by syousef (465911)

            Yeah I've thought about painting or sticking stars on the ceiling. 3 disadvantages though - takes a lot of time, not very portable, not possible to change the display with time of night (and hard to do with season).

            Kudos to you for getting girls into a starlit bedroom in highschool *chuckle* I wasn't exactly a babe magnet at that age so I'm jealous ;-)

            • by siddesu (698447)

              hehe, sticking them isn't that much work if you co-opt the kids, but yours are a bit young. painting the constellations properly, yeah, that's a challenge.

              as for the changing sky thing, that is why I used the black light. i put a cylinder box around it, with a cardboard cutout on top of the box over the lamp, which projected an ellpse over the whole sky the way those paper planispheres do [wikimedia.org] -- I was only litting up the visible portion of the sky by turning the paper cover of the box with my bare hands.

              it was

    • Or you could take him outside?
      • by syousef (465911)

        Or you could take him outside?

        He'll be outside with binocs and a 10" dob when he's old enough. In the meantime I'd like him to grow up with some familiarity of the stars and going to bed to them would be ideal. It's not practical to take an infant outdoors every night.

    • Sega Homestar.

      This is not a toy. It was actually designed by the same guy that created those professional star machines that look like some weird alien thing.

      It uses an LED so its efficient. It will run you about 300US on ebay. I don't have one, Have never used one. But as a real amateur astronomer I am extremely interested because unlike the cheap "star projectors" the homestar puts white stars on a black background instead of the other way around like most of the cheapies.

      It also has timer sett

    • Why would you want to subject your son to such torture? Poor kid will not get any sleep what with the humming of the projector and PC and all. What's wrong with those glow in the dark stickers?
    • I've been thinking of buying a projector for my 3 month old son's bedroom
      .

      This delightful "toy" planetarium sells for $130-$170.

      $325 for the Homestar Pro. Moon Disk and three white LEDs for projection.

      Homestar Optical System [scientificsonline.com], Sega Homestar Pro Home Planetarium [xplanet.biz]

      Designed by Takayuki Ohira, [credited] by the Guinness Book of World Records as the builder of the "world's most advanced planetarium" for exhibitions and museums, it projects a realistic image of the heavens--over 10,000 stars--as they appear w

    • Check out the Sega Homestar Planetarium (marketed by Uncle Milton, the Ant Farm magnate, in the U.S.) It's the only thing that comes close to producing a quality sky, the rest are really just junky toys. I'd avoid doing a digital planetarium at home. As you mention lamp costs are high and the image will be pretty low res when you spread it out over the whole ceiling. You'll have dim stars the size of dimes.
    • You could try taking your kid outdoors sometimes.
  • by andreyvul (1176115) <andrey...vul@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @10:51PM (#25477841)

    would look pretty interesting on a huge spherical screen.
    Maybe it can even one-up Beijing's BSoD.

    • Well it does appear to be running windows, assuming that the control panel and the main system are one and the same computer.

  • Now this [zeiss.de] is a real planetarium!
    I know, because I have worked in many of the world's [haydenplanetarium.org] best [griffithobs.org] known [mos.org] planetariums [fi.edu].
  • The planetarium that I work at is also considering using the Uniview [scalingtheuniverse.com] system. We currently use the Konica Minolta's single-projector MediaGlobe I/II [mediaglobe...tarium.com] system. It provides wonderful visuals and interactivity in our galaxy, but sadly, its intergalactic abilities aren't nearly up to what the Uniview can do. For those wishing to dabble a bit in the technology behind Uniview, though, check out the free Digital Universe [haydenplanetarium.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @11:12PM (#25477975)

    I love the Academy of Sciences and the old planetarium. Been going there since the 80's. Needless to say I was thrilled to be there when the new facility opened.

    It is not a planetarium. It is an IMAX movie. You sit, watch a film, and leave. There is no talk about constellations, or where in the sky you should look to see features. The movie has a lot of narration about saving the environment, man-made waste products, deforestation, and other topics completely unrelated to the solar system. In fact a large chunk of it is devoted to discussing extra-terrestrial life and the size of solar system as far as man has explored it.

    This falls in line with the new Academy of Sciences which is no longer about science, it's a marketing experience. There are a zillion gift shops with toys but NO BOOKS. I was amazed about how much historical and scientific material is completely missing from the new building.

    They are selling a fun experience for kids that is short on science, short on education and high on "fun". It's something a Great America or Disneyland designer would come up with. I'm sad to see the old one go and disappointed the new one took the easy way out.

    The old Academy of Sciences made science FUN. This one is entirely forgettable and you won't leave it knowing any more than you did coming in. It's a perfect trip for the family, but do yourself a favor and check out the Exploratorium if you to do right for your kids.

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [retawriaf]> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:25AM (#25478371) Homepage

      They are selling a fun experience for kids that is short on science, short on education and high on "fun". It's something a Great America or Disneyland designer would come up with.

      You see the fruit not of amusement park designers but of decades of educators trying to make education 'fun' rather than educational.

      • Fun would be playing Galactic Empire or Homeworld on this setup. Anyway the setup does have the potential to be educational AND fun (not diametrically opposed goals).

      • by Petaris (771874)

        I work for a K-12 school District and that is dead on especially in the elementary. They watch TV, play games, play one the computer, and now they are installing even more "learning" software on the computers so they have to teach even less. Education is just getting sad. And at the Middle school and High School you can replace that with sports. Academics isn't just in the back seat, its in the trunk. :(

      • Oh really? I don't see you with a fungineering degree.
    • by Daikiki (227620)

      There are a zillion gift shops with toys but NO BOOKS.

      There are three. With books. There are also aquariums, tidal pools, ant colonies, Darwin's finches, Foulcault's pendulum. A library. Labs with great big plate glass windows. Skulls. It's a museum. With science.

      Get over yourself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stephen (20676)

      It is not a planetarium. It is an IMAX movie. You sit, watch a film, and leave. There is no talk about constellations, or where in the sky you should look to see features. The movie has a lot of narration about saving the environment, man-made waste products, deforestation, and other topics completely unrelated to the solar system. In fact a large chunk of it is devoted to discussing extra-terrestrial life and the size of solar system as far as man has explored it.

      I've been to the show, and I don't think this is a fair criticism. As well as being visually spectacular, I thought it gave a reasonable overview of the universe from the earth outwards.

      I was put off by the title of the show (Fragile Planet), but actually it had far less boring environmental preaching than I imagined. Most of it was about exoplanets and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. My one complaint would be that it got a bit speculative, even if it's based on the best science that we have at

      • by Rakarra (112805)

        Did they have a schedule there of Planetarium programs? That's how the Planetarium at the old Academy worked -- a program would run for a few months and then get replaced. Some of them were quite good, though some were rather lame; I have no interest at all in Fragile Earth and wonder when it'll be swapped out for a new one.

        • by Stephen (20676)
          Sorry, I didn't see any indication of that. As you probably know, it's only been open a month at this point anyway.
    • >It is not a planetarium. It is an IMAX movie.

      I'm not going to argue with you about what the Academy of Sciences has become, but this thing is definitely a planetarium. The opening show is more movie than planetarium show, but so what? The fact that it can show movies doesn't mean it's not a planetarium.

      In fact, the opening scene takes full advantage of the spherical shape by showing the interior one of the other domes--I really thought I was "OUTSIDE" the planetarium for a second, which means it did e

  • Video Explanation (Score:5, Informative)

    by slifox (605302) * on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @11:14PM (#25477993)

    Found a video describing the planetarium tech:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJewbEIzesE [youtube.com]

  • Very nice. I've been waiting for the crowds to decline a bit so I can see the new museum without being run over by mobs of kids. It's good that people are actually going. Few went to the old California Academy of Sciences Museum, with dusty dioramas from the 1930s.

  • by Shag (3737) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @12:05AM (#25478269) Homepage

    Like the little planetarium in my town [imiloahawaii.org]?

  • There's one just like this in Milwaukee already, in the museum in town. I went about a year ago.

  • Seems like an awfully expensive overheard projector to me.
    • Except that it seems to do relativistic calculations in real time of the objects you are viewing and probably has a huge star/object database. So, you would need a fast processor/large storage as well as a fast and high-definition projector.

      Probably a bargain if it can get kids to see this stuff in action. It is hard to really conceptualize this sort of thing in your head when you are mechanically doing paper calculations (with only equations or simplified 2D diagrams that look/act nothing like the real thi

  • I wonder what makes this more advanced than, say, the Beijing planetarium driven by six SGI IR4 pipes.
    A quick look through the article doesn't impress - well not from a hardware standpoint anyway. What did I miss?

  • by Tjeerd (976354) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @02:40AM (#25479053) Homepage
    Perhaps it's interesting to see an oldskool planetarium built in the 1770's inside the house of the Frysian guy named Eise Eisinga [wikipedia.org]. You can see some pictures here [jusonline.nl] of the inside of his house and the planetarium.
  • "We're glad to know that with the real computation work, the engineers here turn to PCs. All of the other exhibits in the Academy are actually run on Mac Minis "

    so what's wrong with a Mac Mini? are they incapable of doing real computation work?

  • My new state-of-the-art home theatre has been made obsolete by something better *already*? Upgrading time...
  • by StupendousMan (69768) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @09:08AM (#25480777) Homepage

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, in Mitaka, has a system called "4D2U" set up in a small building. It features dome about 20 meters wide with (if I recall correctly from my visit in the spring) 11 or 13 projectors. Most of the projectors face in one particular direction, the same direction which the seats face, so that the resolution and color balance are highest where people are looking. The team at Mitaka has written their own software to do real-time motion through space and time; it looks a lot like Celestia, and may be based in part on it.

    You can see details and download code for your own use by going to

    http://4d2u.nao.ac.jp/index_E.html [nao.ac.jp]

  • And yet, no matter how much money they spend it still won't stop a roomful of school kids from simultaneously groaning when you tell them "We are going on a field trip to the planetarium."

    • by Rakarra (112805)

      Most kids liked the trips to the Planetarium. It was the other field trips they didn't like, though really just about any field trip was preferable to sitting in class reading textbooks.

  • by Looce (1062620) * on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:36AM (#25481803) Journal

    (The class learns that the planetarium is closed. Arnold steps to the front of the bus.)
    Miss Frizzle: Yes, Arnold?
    Arnold: Isn't there, you know, someplace else you could take us?
    Miss Frizzle: You mean, another planetarium?
    Arnold: Well, sort of, but bigger!
    Miss Frizzle: Bigger?
    Arnold: You know, the big one.
    Miss Frizzle: Oh ho! Arnold! Why didn't I think of that? T minus 5 and counting! Four, three, two, one, blastoff!
    Janet: What's happening?
    Class: A field trip!

  • Okay, this may have been posted already, sorry if its a repeat, but the article describes it as similar to an IMAX dome, and that was my take when I saw it. So, my question is, why use 6 ultra-res DLP projectors? Why not just use one Digital IMAX projector? Is it because you just cannot generate material at that resolution in real-time?

    Just wondering.

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      I also just watched the video on Youtube. The resolution is only 3600x3600. This is not even 4k technology, which is used in most theaters, and yet we are projecting this onto this humongous dome. Last I heard, IMAX was 18k. I mean, at that resolution on a dome that big, wouldn't the picture be, well, pixilated? Those dots are going to be huge.

  • They shared video development with NYC Rose planetariam. Originally Denver was powered by a SGI supercomputer, but they switched to HPs after SGI stopped making new supers. Also they switched to a new 6-megapixel system with higher contrast (blacker blacks) and less frequent bulb replacements (monthly instead of weekly).

    The videos consist of solar system trip, a galaxy trip, black holes, meteors, astronaut training, several kalideoscopic light shows, each 20 minutes. Individual museums get grants to d

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