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> The New Morrison Planetarium, San Francisco, California
Ken Miller
post Jun 3 2008, 10:17 PM
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The time is fast approaching for the opening of what is supposed to be the ultimate world class planetarium. Seeing will be believing. It appears that the projector will be purely digital. There is no mention of a mechanical projector. I have yet to see a starfield from a digital projector that is as good as a mechanical projector. The claim that really catches my attention is that the 23 degree dome tilt is designed to imitate the Earth's polar tilt. I do not see how that will provide any special capabilities, but if anybody can see the advantage, please chime in here and explain. Somewhere I saw a claim that there was a maximum amount that a planetarium dome could be tilted without causing viewer disorientation, and I think it was less than 23 degrees (I may be wrong). The other world-class planetarium in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Chabot, has a 16 degree dome tilt which is more typical of modern planetariums. Chabot also has a tilted and spherical IMAX screen in a separate auditorium. The New Morrison sounds like a compromise between those two types of theater. I will try to keep an open mind and prepare to have my preconceptions blown away!
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Ron Walker
post Jun 4 2008, 11:49 AM
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QUOTE(Ken Miller @ Jun 3 2008, 09:17 PM) *
The time is fast approaching for the opening of what is supposed to be the ultimate world class planetarium. Seeing will be believing. It appears that the projector will be purely digital. There is no mention of a mechanical projector. I have yet to see a starfield from a digital projector that is as good as a mechanical projector. The claim that really catches my attention is that the 23 degree dome tilt is designed to imitate the Earth's polar tilt. I do not see how that will provide any special capabilities, but if anybody can see the advantage, please chime in here and explain. Somewhere I saw a claim that there was a maximum amount that a planetarium dome could be tilted without causing viewer disorientation, and I think it was less than 23 degrees (I may be wrong). The other world-class planetarium in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Chabot, has a 16 degree dome tilt which is more typical of modern planetariums. Chabot also has a tilted and spherical IMAX screen in a separate auditorium. The New Morrison sounds like a compromise between those two types of theater. I will try to keep an open mind and prepare to have my preconceptions blown away!


The 23 degree dome sounds like an advertising ploy to me. Perhaps it allows for stadium seating. (IMG:http://www.observatorycentral.com/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif)

I kind of guessed that it would be a total digital projection, otherwise they would have gotten a lot of flack replacing the academy projector.

I often wondered what a sky would look like when you got stars down to pixel size. Since there is space between each pixel, I would imagine very faint pixel size stars to totally disappear when moving between pixels. When one considers the size of a dome and then considers the number of pixels actually projected (even when considering the use of multiple projectors to cover the dome) I would imagine the area of each pixel (and the space between) would be fairly large.

I look forward to your report.
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Ken Miller
post Oct 23 2008, 10:35 AM
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Behind the scenes at the new Morrison Planetarium:

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/...son_planetarium
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Ron Walker
post Oct 23 2008, 11:26 AM
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WOW!!...I guess I'll give up now. (IMG:http://www.observatorycentral.com/style_emoticons/default/ohmy.gif)

PC's not Mac's. I guess I was right on that one. (IMG:http://www.observatorycentral.com/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif)
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Ken Miller
post Jan 18 2010, 10:53 AM
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I joined a gathering at the "Morrison" planetarium last week to view a demonstration of the new Zeiss "Velvet" digital projection system. I also finally got to see the new planetarium and their currently running show. The Zeiss system was an improvement over the currently installed system in several ways. The system features ultra high contrast, with pure black background. I was thinking that it was ok, but it still didn't present a realistic starfield. The resolution still wasn't good enough to represent pinpoint stars, although it was better than any video system that I have seen so far. I think they are half way to having something almost as good as the mechanical systems. I was underwhelmed at the quality of the opening video showing the sun setting behind the Golden Gate bridge. Anytime you project a bright sky in a dome, it gets washed out. But, by comparison, the Zeiss Velvet was twice as sharp and bright as the currently installed system.

The dramatically tilted dome in the "Morrison" actually seems to work, but it is a steep climb to the seats for someone that isn't in good shape.

I put "Morrison" in quotes because I think the name is fading away. I didn't see any signs that identified it as anything but the planetarium. I don't think the name has much significance anymore. The place is more like a theater, and there was no real astronomy exhibit connected with it.

Ken
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