Press Release

Urania Planetarium Potsdam opens with world premiere

Visitors can explore the universe featuring the latest ZEISS technology

31 May 2022

Jena/Potsdam, Germany | 31 May 2022 | ZEISS Planetariums

The Urania Planetarium in Potsdam reopened yesterday with the latest ZEISS technology, celebrating a world premiere: the new star projector from ZEISS, called ASTERION, has replaced the old ZEISS SKYMASTER planetarium, which had been used successfully for over 40 years. ASTERION establishes a new class of equipment: The spherical so-called “Star Ball” projects stars and the Milky Way in combination with the ZEISS VELVET digital system, which is also new. It consists of two special projectors that project a 360-degree image onto the dome.

Urania Planetarium Potsdam

Urania Planetarium Potsdam opens with latest ZEISS technology

The video projectors are outstanding for the highest contrast. While ASTERION displays the natural appearing starry sky with unprecedented sharpness, the digital projection provides all other celestial phenomena such as the planets, sun and moon, or even constellation figures. Unlike other projectors, the ZEISS VELVET system does not “brighten” the background and the brilliance of the night sky remains unspoiled. Simon Plate, director of the planetarium, confirms this: “ASTERION comes to us in Potsdam with an impressively brilliant and deep starry sky. In combination with the high-contrast image of the VELVET LED projectors, 'strolling' through the planetarium sky will be a real pleasure.”

The starry sky is the starting point for three-dimensional journeys into the universe. This is where the latest UNIVIEW planetarium software from ZEISS comes into play. It creates the imperceptible transition from analog projection through the Star Ball to digital projection and visualizes all the essential components of the observable universe. “Planetarium guests not only leave Earth, but they can travel through the solar system, out into the vastness of our home galaxy and on into intergalactic space with millions of galaxies,” says Martin Kraus, head of the Planetarium Division at ZEISS. Thanks to their open architecture, the extensive databases can be expanded to include the latest discoveries, such as the Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way, which recently received a lot of media attention.

Kraus knows the requirements of planetariums very well: “UNIVIEW is highly appreciated by our customers. The software – although very complex – allows for easy navigation throughout the universe and for the involvement of visitors in a live and interactive setting. At the same time, it offers a wide range of possibilities for producing shows in the planetarium.”

With its more than 50-year history, the Urania Planetarium stands out as one of the educational institutions rich in tradition. It was opened in 1968 in the “New Garden” in Potsdam and since then has shaped astronomical education beyond Potsdam and serves as an important venue for cultural events in western Brandenburg. In the beginning, the focus was on the starry sky and its phenomena. Over the years, new programs and upgraded technology have always offered visitors modernity and increasing diversity. In 2007, it moved to Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter and by 2010 was already using a digital fulldome system for immersive presentations, purchased by the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences for real-time visualizations. The 8-meter-diameter dome seats 46. Regarding the new technology, the Potsdam Planetarium is once again one of the most modern small planetariums in Europe. With its entertaining and educational programs, it attracts about 20,000 visitors annually.

Press contact Beatrice Weinberger

ZEISS Planetariums


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling 7.5 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2021).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 13 percent of its revenue in research and development – this high level of expenditure has a long tradition at ZEISS and is also an investment in the future.

With around 37,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 30 production sites, 60 sales and service companies and 27 research and development facilities (status: 31 March 2022). Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.

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