Planetarium technology has advanced beyond recognition in recent years. It is not just stars; now viewers can be immersed in full-screen video using a state-of-the-art digital projection cinema system. The cinema-grade surround sound system adds to the feeling of really being there.
Winchester Science Centre’s system uses six projectors arranged around the audience, hidden in the walls. There is no central projector to disrupt your view. If interested, you can clearly see one projector clearly at the back above the control desk (the large black one).
Each projector creates one part of the image. The projections fade out at the edges to blend into the neighbouring sections to give a seamless appearance. The projectors are regularly calibrated to ensure brightness/contrast/colour matching across the entire dome.
In addition to playing 360° fulldome films, UniViewTM software by SCISS allows presenters to fly visitors through a virtual universe built using scientific data. Each star and galaxy is accurately plotted and planets are created using images from spacecraft wherever possible. Nothing is pre-recorded, everything is rendered in real-time, making each show unique.
The presenter can set time and date to show objects in the correct locations/orientations for the time of the show and then pilot a seamless flight from our Earth around the solar system and out to the edge of the visible universe, bringing in labels or markers as required, or speeding up or slowing down time to demonstrate the movement of objects.