Planetarium in Halle (Saale) which uses ZEISS technology is inaugurated

With its equipment, the new dome in the former gasometer is one of the most modern in Europe

Jena/ Halle (Saale) | 30 March 2023 | ZEISS Planetariums

The planetarium in Halle (Saale) with leading-edge ZEISS technology for visualizing celestial phenomena and delivering 360-degree video projection is being inaugurated at a ceremony on 30 March 2023. The domed hall, the planetarium's centerpiece, will soon boast a 12-meter diameter and will accommodate upwards of 100 visitors. “With its technical facilities, it is now the largest planetarium in Saxony-Anhalt and the most modern in Europe,” says Dirk Schlesier, Head of the Halle Planetarium. "Installing leading-edge technology in a historic building is pretty unique. The gasometer has become an amazing repository of knowledge." He adds that one of the primary aims at the planetarium is to share knowledge. “It's not merely about stargazing – we also want to create a cultural space, and ZEISS' projection technology fits right in with that.”

Planetarium in Halle/Saale opens with ZEISS technology. © Stadt Halle (Saale), T. Ziegler
Planetarium in Halle/Saale opens with ZEISS technology.

Leading-edge projection technology

Thanks to a combination of specialized fiber optics and high-performance LED light sources, the ZEISS SKYMASTER ZKP 4 analog star projector creates a brilliant night sky that cannot be screened using digital technology. Six ZEISS VELVET LED projectors along the perimeter project digital images onto the entire dome, generating the dome-filling imagery using various presentations from astronomy, science, culture, and entertainment.

The True Black hybrid planetarium system combines the opto-mechanical projection power of the ZEISS ZKP 4 star projector with the high-contrast projections delivered by a variety of planetarium functions of the ZEISS VELVET projectors. The ZEISS VELVET LED projectors are special as they deliver pitch-black image backdrops, so the brilliance of the artificial night sky is retained even when accompanied by superimposed images, thus reinforcing the illusion of an object floating in space. ZEISS uses hybrid controls to ensure that both systems work in sync. And it's set to transform planetarium events into an extraordinary experience for all.

What's more, the planetarium in Halle was one of ZEISS' first customers to use UNIVIEW Open Dome, a technology that permits any content to be projected directly from a laptop or PC onto a dome in real time. And it does this in the high resolution of up to 4,096 x 4,096 pixels. In the future, the planetarium in Halle will be able to project content from external sources onto its dome through Plug & Play. This includes videos, presentation apps like PowerPoint and astronomy apps, as well as its own visualizations, VJ applications and even content from the web. “UNIVIEW Open Dome is opening up a whole new age for planetariums. For the first time ever, technology imposes no limits on what can be projected onto the dome,” says Martin Kraus, Head of Planetariums at ZEISS.

The new planetarium in the old gasometer in Halle is one of the most modern in Europe with its equipment. © Stadt Halle (Saale), T. Ziegler
The new planetarium in the old gasometer in Halle is one of the most modern in Europe with its equipment.

Tradition meets future

The history of the space flight planetarium in Halle has been linked to ZEISS from the beginning. The building was erected as a shell construction on island of Peißnitz on the river Saale and opened its doors with a ZEISS SPACEMASTER RFP-DP space flight planetarium in 1978. As the planetarium was located on an island, it suffered damage several times when the river Saale flooded. In 2013, even the main projector was submerged. The former planetarium had to be vacated as a result. With the help of money from the Flood Relief Fund (Fluthilfefond), the city of Halle built the reconstruction on Holzplatz square. The new planetarium is based in a former gasometer on the leafy island of Salineinsel, just a few minutes' walk from the city center. In the past, it was often described as the 'Colosseum of Halle'. After several years of reconstruction and a total overhaul of the interior, guests from the city and the wider area are now able to visit the new center of astronomy education and entertainment.

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