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Digital Projection charts space history in world first laser system

The Museum of Space History has modernised its planetarium theatre system, moving from dual IMAX projection to the SciDome 4K Laser Fulldome Planetarium System, which includes two Digital Projection INSIGHT laser 4K projectors.

A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the museum hosts various exhibitions, a hall of fame, education programmes, library and conservation area.

The mission of the museum is to educate the people of New Mexico and visitors from around the world in the history, science, and technology of space, while stressing the significant role that the state of New Mexico has played in the development of the US Space Program.

A particularly popular area in the museum is ‘The New Horizons Dome Theatre and Planetarium’. Named for the spacecraft that flew by Pluto in 2015, it is the first dome theatre in the world to feature the Spitz SciDome 4K Laser Fulldome planetarium system. The theatre offers giant screen films, full dome digital planetarium shows and live star talks.

The museum wanted to update the planetarium theatre, which had previously been using a dual IMAX projection system. The goal was to upgrade to a single system that could project a broader diversity of vivid content including star shows and planetarium movies as well as large screen films across its 360°, 12m dome screen.

The upgrade was led by Spitz Incorporated, the largest supplier of planetariums for education, entertainment, and businesses. The SciDome system produces a total of 24,000 laser illuminated lumens and a 4096 x 4096 pixel resolution, the pair of Digital Projection INSIGHT Laser 4Ks replaced two separate legacy projectors in the museum’s theatre with a single solution to handle all dome projection applications.

The combined INSIGHT Laser 4K projectors use purpose-built dome lenses and cover 360° of the New Horizons Dome Theatre, providing 4K resolution via laser illumination onto the 12m SciDome surface. This new system provides higher resolution to display crisp planetarium star fields and vivid pre-rendered shows.

Christopher Orwoll, executive director of the New Mexico Museum of Space History, commented: “We’ve been extremely pleased with the new SciDome 4K Laser Projection system. The image on our dome is stunning in all the various modes we use the system and is easy to work with. The operation of the new system is much, much easier and far less prone to failure. The projectors and lenses have been very reliable and we haven’t lost any shows because of them, not to mention the costs to operate them are a fraction of what it used to be for the IMAX system (utilities and personnel).”