What is a planetarium? The digital planetarium is a new way to observe the sky, focused on scientific and astronomical outreach. It allows us to explore aspects such as the passage of days and nights, constellations, the sun, the moon, planets, and galaxies. Although we can appreciate these phenomena with the naked eye with the help of an astronomer and a laser pointer or a telescope, the digital planetarium offers a unique presentation of science. It is a valuable support tool for both astronomy enthusiasts and education, as it stimulates, entertains, and exposes science in an accessible way, using technology to make visible and understandable what is normally invisible. This activity is suitable for children, youth, and adults and can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

With a digital planetarium, we can display surprising phenomena and engage the audience to participate and interact, especially children, who can experience a simulation of reality. Additionally, when used for language learning, it becomes a powerful tool to reinforce vocabulary and expressions.

Nowadays, planetariums can be found in a variety of events such as museums, exhibitions, and private parties, and their contents offer flexibility to integrate different images and even advertising if necessary.

Planetarium movies, or fulldome films, are created through collaboration between artists and scientists, combining creativity and knowledge to offer high-quality visual and educational presentations. The construction costs of a planetarium have significantly decreased, making it more accessible for a variety of venues, from schools to cultural events.

A planetarium consists of five fundamental elements:

Planetarium Dome: The surface onto which the contents are projected, which can be fixed or mobile, and is designed to envelop the audience. Condensation is a challenge to solve, especially in fixed domes, and the projection surface must be matte or satin, not glossy.

Digital Projector for Planetarium: There are different projection systems, such as fisheye, spherical mirror, and multi-projector or channel systems. Each has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of quality and cost.

Content or Film for Planetarium: Fulldome films must be carefully designed to make the most of the planetarium experience. They can focus on astronomical, educational, or entertainment aspects and are tailored to different audiences and educational levels.

Audio System for Planetarium: A conventional audio system or surround sound is used, depending on the size of the planetarium and the desired experience for the audience.

Audience Seating Area: It is the area where the audience sits, and its location within the planetarium contributes to the immersive experience.

With these elements, planetariums offer an educational and exciting experience for people of all ages and are a powerful tool for scientific outreach and entertainment.