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What is a planetarium or digital planetarium? (Short version).

A planetarium is a space dedicated to the presentation of astronomical initially shows and where you can see recreations of the night sky from different places on Earth and at different times of the year. Normally a planetarium consists of a projection screen dome-shaped and an optical-mechanical projector or digital projector capable of projecting the positions of stars and planets.

Today, thanks to digital projectors any content is possible in a planetarium, that's what you should as well be called immersive theater or film 360. The planet may be mobile (inflatable) or fixed (usually museums).

What is a planetarium? (Long version :D).

The digital planetarium, is a new way of looking at the sky, popular science and astronomy (the passage of days and nights, the constellations, the sun, moon, planets, galaxies). We know that it can be seen with the naked eye as an astronomer shows the visible in our skies with a powerful laser pointer or a telescope, and in both cases (through a planetary or direct outdoor) is very interesting and didactic However, the planetary digutal provides a presentation of the more educational, stimulating and fun science is somehow a science exhibition expanded in 180 or 360, brings us to a minimum making it visible and understandable. A very auspicious activity for children, youth and adults and can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

With a digital planetarium we can show surprising phenomena involved by the public, interact, in the case of the smallest, live mock reality that we are offered. Also, if you orient to language learning also it becomes a powerful tool through which is easier to learn or reinforce concepts about the vocabulary or expressions.

Today a planetarium may be present in any event, museums, exhibitions, private parties (parties, birthdays, corporate events, chill out sessions, concerts, theater, scientific animation projects, thematic fairs, product promotion, and their contents allow some flexibility to integrate disparate images to the point of being able to enter the advertising customer or partner (if necessary) without too much conflict.

Planetarium films or films are built FullDome (d elos in most cases) through two professional profiles that rarely meet in the same project, artists and scientists, both professionals build housing proposals a high level of creativity and design the presentation of the contents, such as creative analyze the image, scientists analyze the word, and balance control is how to get this idea "where there is no image reaches the floor and where there is no word reaches the image ".

The costs for the construction of a planetarium have changed a lot over the decade, today, for a very economical and affordable price, it is not difficult to obtain the necessary infrastructure to provide a digital mobile planetarium or a digital fixed planetarium (in the case of a public institution like a museum, interpretation centers, cultural house, ect ..). In fact, it is increasingly common to see a planetary cultural weeks, municipalities, businesses, parties, schools, events, theme fairs, trade exhibitions (stands), associations, summer camps, farms, schools, kindergartens, holiday activities or hotels.

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A planetarium consists of five main aspects:

Planetarium dome: The dome or hemispherical screen is the surface on which the contents are projected and this involves the audience. In the case of the domes, they can be (fixed) or inflatable (mobile) work.

So-called mobile or portable domes, usually fabric foscurit that swell through turbines air renew Air also stands, these are the most common in schools, they are easy to assemble, disassemble and transport. If the foscurit is quality, usually very resistant and are manufactured in various diameters: 5, 6 and 8 meters are usually the most common. Although the most common (for schools or small museums) is between 5 and 6 meters in diameter. Depending on the diameter of the dome can enter groups of 30 or 50 students. The positive thing is that a mobile dome can be installed at any location along one or several days, that if a certain attachment and protection from drafts, rain or shine.

Fixed domes, often built from the concrete, special plastic, light alloys or coated floating structures, depending on location, budget and structure that houses it will proceed with a building model or another. The diameters of these domes can reach 23 meters as in the case of some American or European planetariums. Depending on the diameter of the dome can enter groups of between 70 and 200 people.

In both cases, both the inflatable dome as the fixed planetary, condensation is a serious problem to be solved, in the case of the domes is solved inflatable air turbine holding planetary, in the case of fixed domes can also be solved with proper ventilation, and in some cases or production models, the supercie to project takes millions of small holes on the plates that build the dome avoiding condensation and moisture.

The tone of the projection surface is also important, it is not advisable to be pure white if it is less than 10 meters in diameter dome, we recommend a white bone or broken, just as the surface should be matte or satin, never bright.

Digital planetarium projector: the digital projector or projection system (fisheye, spherical mirror system of multiple projectors or channels).

The projection fisheye lens (fisheye) is based on a system of lenses on the light-output projector image, this projection system is at the center dome upright forcing public place seats around the projector. The most positive aspect of this planetarium projection system is that the projected image does not twist or uneven intensities of light in the whole projection. Although the lenses can reduce the original brightness of the project it is reliable and clear system, but unfortunately it's something expensive then the price. Currently, in their direnetes models, this type of projector is often used both in a fixed planetary rover not exceeding 15 meters diameter.

The projection system of spherical mirror (spherical mirror) is based on the projection of the image on the mirror and it is returned to the dome. This projection system has the advantage of being located on the side (periphery) of the dome which frees the central space of the planetary for attendees. The advantage of this model is that it can be more economical, the disadvantage is that it creates a small shadow in the back of the projector that usually do not bother is the exhibition of movies, but if you are not well calibrated the projected image may appear distorted in excess near the projector. The mirror that is used for this projection system is usually very delicate and must be intensive care to not suffer from scratches or dirt. This type of projector for planetarium software works with specific strain (warped) to fit the image in the mirror, there are models that work without this software so that films should already be warpeadas for use. For the moment, limited by resolution of the projector lumens and, in their different models, this type of projection planetarium sisetma often used both a fixed planetary rover no more than 10 meters diameters.

As for the systems of several projects or several channels (last generation), these are usually used in large fixed planetary up to 23 meters in diameter, and maintenance costs are very high quality projection is simple and simply perfect. For a full dome projection multichannel a series of projectors that create the picture standing on the periphery, depending on the diameter of the dome is used, it will be a projector or two to cover the zenith. For example, five channels are sufficient for a dome with a diameter of up to 18 m, six projectors to a dome of 20 m and 10 projectors for 25 meters in diameter.

Systems of several projects or several channels is very costly, and today there are models of multiple projectors or channels that allow stereoscopic recreation (with 3D glasses) at 180, and this is important to differentiate normally stereoscopic image is Front and not 180 °. Recreation stereoscopic (3D glasses) in 180 enhances the immersive effect of the spherical dome of the planetarium, but be careful with abuse of these resources, our neuronal information processing system is saturated with relative ease in these kinds of environments too many stimuli.

Content or planetarium film: Movies FullDome (full dome) or movies must be designed to planetary awareness, use nothing moderately planes adapted videos, or the result is the same or equal sensations are transmitted. If you think a flat film project deformed something better you save the projection planetarium, you win time and money.

Originally the content for planetariums and astronomy focused on training aspects, especially for military training, eventually became more popular and became part of the leisure activities and science. Today, thanks to digital projection this has changed considerably, any content is possible within a planetarium. In most cases the projections, when it comes to projections for teaching purposes, the films are adapted to the different training and educational levels: kindergarten, primary, secondary, high school and college and adult groups. However, increasingly, fiction and narrative play a significant role in what we might say it becomes more leisure activity or playful to the point you start to play a significant role in the world of video games or musical and theatrical spectacle.

Normally films are presented in "fisheye" lens format for projects "fisheye" (in a single file video) or multi-channel projectors (in frames and audio separately). For spherical mirror projectors deformation software, films are presented in "fish eye" if you do not have software, movies are presented warpeadas.

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The audio system or sound Planetary: Planetary For small diameter (5-8 meters) with a conventional audio "screen" may be sufficient: center channel, left channel and right channel. Large planetarium is often used "surround sound". Surround sound (also called "Surround") is a technique that aims to enhance the quality of sound reproduction of an audio source with additional channels from speakers surrounding the listener (surround channels), providing sound within 360.


The stand or public area: It is what it would be like in a theater or other events venue is the place where the public is accommodated. In this latter respect it is interesting to see what the place that physically occupies the public, the public is placed inside the stage (the screen wraps, surrounds him) what makes the audience becomes an active element to account regarding the exposure of content. Comfort is important especially if you are too long inside the planetarium.

For just over time, with this you are already familiar with the world of planetary entertaining: D.

Alejandro Duran.

Director BUOFULLDOME.

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