New Planetarium Technology

Located on the third floor of McInnis,  the Julia Fowler Planetarium, Eastern’s twenty-foot full-dome planetarium, has recently updated several of its technologies. In June, the projector system was upgraded from a 1050-by-1050 to a 2560-by-2560 resolution system. Images shown in the planetarium are now four times higher  in resolution and six times brighter than before. This enhancement is due not just to one projector but two projectors meshed together, which cooperatively form a single, seamless image.

This new enhanced projector system is paired with a SciTouch infrared laser controller, which allows the dome to act as a touch screen.

Along with the enhanced image and infrared capabilities, planetarium goers will enjoy a new program called “The Layered Earth,” which gives an in-depth look at the Earth, i.e. developing earthquakes, plate tectonics, population density, etc. Dr. Bradstreet, Professor and Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Physics, hopes that this in-depth look at the Earth’s structure will be utilized by a variety of classes for meteorological and geological studies.

Finally, and arguably the most exciting feature of the new planetarium technology, is a new full-dome movie entitled “Solar Superstorms,” narrated by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The movie  markets itself as “one of the most intensive efforts ever made to visualize the inner workings of the sun.” It explores the relationship between the Earth and the Sun, the importance of magnetic fields in space, the nature of polar auroras, space weather’s threat to communications and power networks, and the monitoring of solar behavior.

The planetarium’s new technologies make it the brightest and highest resolution twenty-foot dome in the world.

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit the planetarium for one of the “Solar Superstorms” showings: Oct. 23, 24, 30, 31 or Nov. 6-7 at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. each night. The show consists of a 20-minute live Sky Tonight tour and the 25-minute feature video. Tickets are $5 per seat (pay at the door). Reservations can be made at


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