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Our team is highly trained and qualified. With our decades of experience and hundreds of planetarium installations around the world, we will be happy to support you in the realisation of your planetarium project.

Find quick answers to frequently asked questions in our planetarium FAQ or contact us directly using our contact form.


Find Answers to frequently asked Questions

  • What is a Planetarium?

    Modern projection planetariums are a mixture of cultural enterprise and science communicator. Historically, the focus of their programmes has been on communicating astronomical knowledge, which is why they are a popular point of contact for school classes, among others. However, many other areas of knowledge are also thematised and visually presented today. The modern planetarium combines the immersive experience of a virtual simulation (VR) with the social character of public events. Planetariums come in a wide range of sizes, from mobile domes with a diameter of just a few metres to ‘cathedrals of knowledge’ with domes measuring 20 metres and more. The world's largest planetarium is currently located in Nagoya, Japan, and can accommodate up to 350 visitors at a time under a 35 metre dome.

  • How long have (projection) planetariums been around?

    The first projection planetarium was developed by ZEISS and presented to the public in 1923. The so-called ‘Miracle of Jena’ was created at the suggestion of Oskar von Miller, the founder of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. After short public test demonstrations in Munich and Jena, the world's first projection planetarium went into operation on 7 May 1925 in the Deutsches Museum.

  • What are modern planetariums used for?

    The main task of most planetariums is to impart scientific knowledge to people of all ages, which is why planetariums are often also designated as extracurricular learning centres. In addition, the programme ranges from cultural themes to concerts, live theatre, readings and corporate events. In many places, private celebrations such as birthdays and civil marriages can also be organised.

  • What is the difference between digital, opto-mechanical and hybrid planetariums?

    Opto-mechanical projectors are used exclusively for displaying the starry sky and are ideal for imparting astronomical knowledge. There are currently no alternatives that offer comparably realistic and brilliant celestial displays. For many visitors, the ‘star projector’ is the recognisable feature of a planetarium, giving it an iconic character.

    The equipment of digital planetariums is comparable to modern cinemas. With the help of a number of strategically positioned projectors (cf. beamers), the dome surface can be seamlessly projected with digital content.

    Hybrid planetariums combine the advantages of opto-mechanical and digital projectors and thus offer an optimal realisation of modern event concepts, whether for the communication of didactic content or for pure entertainment.

  • Are projection planetariums still up to date in the age of LED dome displays?

    Projection systems in planetariums have decisive advantages over LED displays. Only with opto-mechanical projectors is it possible to display stars in a point-like and therefore realistic way. The use of digital projectors combines the versatility of the display options with a comparatively small footprint.

    ZEISS systems in particular are characterised by rich black levels and the associated high contrast. Due to the lower maintenance requirements and significantly lower power consumption, projection systems are more sustainable and are also easy on the operator's wallet.

  • How much does it cost to equip a planetarium with a complete system?

    We calculate the optimum solution for the best possible performance for each individual customer according to the technical specifications and the available budget.

  • Can planetarium systems be rented?

    No. As planetarium systems have to be planned and configured individually, there is no ‘one’ system that fits every dome. Depending on the size of the dome, a different number of projectors are required, which together cover the projection surface. Due to the special geometry of planetariums, the exact position and the proportion of the projection surface to be covered by each projector must be determined individually.

  • How many seats fit in a planetarium?

    The number of seats in a planetarium depends on the size of the dome and the desired orientation of the seats.

    A distinction is made between unidirectional (similar to cinemas) and concentric (circular around the centre of the room) arrangements. The concentric arrangement potentially allows a higher number of seats, but the main viewing direction is not the same for all visitors and depends on the orientation of the seat.

  • What information is required to prepare a quotation for a customised planetarium?

    Basically, a distinction must be made as to whether a functioning planetarium is to be equipped with new equipment or whether it is a new build. The available budget, the location and the process of awarding the contract all play a role in the preparation of a quotation, as do the planned requirements for the system and the expectations of the client. Of course, the structural conditions (dome size, inclination, opening, etc.) are also of decisive interest.

  • How long does it take until my planetarium is ready for use?

    It usually takes several months between the order being placed and the system installation being completed. This is due to the planning phase and the different delivery times of suppliers of individual system components.

    When building a new planetarium, the installation of the planetarium system is often one of the final steps before the opening and therefore plays a subordinate role in terms of the time required. Here, municipal approval processes and the actual construction phase of the planetarium building are decisive for the project duration of a few years.

  • How much does a planetarium show cost?

    The price of each planetarium show is calculated individually and is generally determined by the dome size, number of seats and/or annual visitor numbers. On behalf of the producers, ZEISS Showvertrieb issues licences for the public performance of the shows in planetariums with terms of between 1 and 50 years.


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