View Full Version : planetarium

06-19-2014, 04:09 PM
dear friends:

I just went to the USCA (university of south carolina Aiken) planetarium and watched
a one hour astronomy show.I really liked it, especially the 'computer graphics' part.
I really loved the show.
It was called something digistar the tech used to make the show.
I was happy to see included in the show, a wireframe 3d version of the old
simple spaceship that came with lightwave many years before.
I really loved the planetarium !!!!
Love !!!

06-19-2014, 04:45 PM
Sounds fun!

One of my dreams is to visit NY and the Hayden Planetarium.


06-19-2014, 11:26 PM
I worked at The Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York; the vanguard planetarium of its time. We were the team that began the "Show Biz" variety of planetarium shows; departing from the "Green Arrow" wielded by a narrator teaching the night sky in a dry lecture. A little bit of honey makes the medicine go down. Put the science in a story and it teaches way more. We would produce our shows, run them, then sell the assets in kits to other planetaria; most having fewer resources and smaller projection galleries, so the shows had to be paired down some to accommodate their venues.

The stars were projected from a Carl Zeiss Model VI Planetarium. (The instrument is the source of the name now associated with the building that houses it.) A magnificent machine. Its sister is the one at Chapel Hill that the Apollo Astronauts were taught celestial navigation on. Zeiss would only build them in twos so, if you had the 2 million+ to order one in the '60s, you had to wait until someone else did, too. I loved that machine. A wonderful piece of engineering. It was my experience with the German engineers fielding our Can-Am 917/10K and 917/30 Turbocharged Porsches that taught me how they designed things. As a result, I was the only person at the time, other than the Zeiss engineers who built it and weren't available, who could disassemble the Moon projector and put it back together again and have it work.

Our shows were done not only with the planetarium projector but with a bank of more than a hundred dedicated projectors; each a one-trick pony that produced only one effect. All of them and the Zeiss were controlled by a PDP-8 computer in the control room that took command of the Zeiss and Effects panel through an analog/digital converter talking to stepper motors to run the dials and switches. A team of 6-8 people would record the show manually while the computer watched the values on all of the sensors rise and fall and stored the data in a stream. Then the computer could read that data and reproduce what we did. This allowed for very complex shows that one operator could never do alone.

Later, video projection, like Evans & Sutherland Digistar, came along and rendered most of the special effects projectors moot; along with the beautiful Zeiss. Just like being able to get special effects "in-camera", as opposed to doing it a 3D application and assembling it all in post, creating and building a complex projector to have the Wright Brothers' Flyer traverse the dome, with propellers rotating, or depict a Quasar, collapsing a star into a black hole or show an expanding nebula; all with a set of totally tricked out slide projectors operating on-demand in real time is a lost art.

Glad you liked the show. I'm happy to have helped along the way with small contributions to make it possible. A planetarium visit makes a great date night, BTW.

06-20-2014, 01:23 PM
Download this cool little app: http://www.stellarium.org/

Stellarium is like a planetarium for your desktop. Also, If you do a search you can find a way to create your own planetarium at home with Stellarium, a security mirror dome, and a projector. I might just have to do it.

06-23-2014, 01:08 AM
As far as I know, our galaxy, the milky way doesn't look like the Hayden representations. It has glowing bubbles of ? coming out from the center and perpendicular to the plane of the galaxy. And yes, they are quite large.

06-23-2014, 01:16 AM

Are you talking about the gamma ray bubbles? It seems like they should have some folks at the Hayden to have added that info by now. Maybe not. :(

06-23-2014, 09:21 AM
Yes. ? = Gamma Ray Bubbles. Well at least the folks at Hayden didn't represent the sun by some guy traversing the heavens in a chariot.

06-23-2014, 11:04 AM
Yes. ? = Gamma Ray Bubbles. Well at least the folks at Hayden didn't represent the sun by some guy traversing the heavens in a chariot.

hahaha First laugh of my day! :) Good one!

06-23-2014, 11:26 AM
Indeed. Everyone knows it's ball of flaming dung pushed along by beetles...