The oldest starball in the USA gets a modern companion from ZEISS

ZEISS VELVET LED for Springfield Science Museum

Jena, Germany / Springfield, Massachusetts, USA | 03 May 2023 | ZEISS Planetariums

Since the opening of the Seymour Planetarium at the Springfield Science Museum 86 years ago, the same starball has always been used to simulate the starry sky. The projector, which was specially constructed by the Korkosz brothers for the Seymour Planetarium, is now considered the oldest working planetarium projector in the USA.

The Korkosz Starball has been in use since the Seymour Planetarium opened in 1937. This makes it the oldest star projector still in use in the USA. Photo: ZEISS. © Seiler, ZEISS
The Korkosz Starball has been in use since the Seymour Planetarium opened in 1937. This makes it the oldest star projector still in use in the USA. Photo: Seiler / ZEISS.
Two ZEISS VELVET LED projectors are installed in the Seymour Planetarium.
Two ZEISS VELVET LED projectors are installed in the Seymour Planetarium. Photo: ZEISS

Now the planetarium has been upgraded for the 21st century and will be able to present digital fulldome content to audiences thanks to the new VELVET LED projectors from ZEISS. However, the Korkosz Starball will continue to fill the dome with stars and constellations as it has since 1937.

The fact that Korkosz and Zeiss projectors will operate under the same dome is a successful marriage of old and new. The installation of the new Zeiss full-dome projection system represents the final phase of a major upgrade initiated several years ago by former Science Museum Director Mike Kerr. That project has now been successfully completed under the direction of current museum director Jenny Powers.

"Springfield's historic Korkosz Starball is the most famous optomechanical planetarium projector in the United States," says Howard George, projection systems engineer at Seiler Instrument & Manufacturing Co. in St. Louis. George installed the new Zeiss projection system with Zeiss planetarium technicians from Jena, Germany.

The first public demonstrations of the new projection system from ZEISS were presented to the public during the Astronomy Day celebration at the Museum of Science on April 29.

Press Contact

Dr. Andreas Schmidt
Phone: +49 3641 64-0690
andreas2 .schmidt @zeiss .com


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 8.8 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2022).

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 over 38,000 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: 30 September 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.

Further information at

Press Contact

Beatrice Weinberger
Phone: +49 3641 64-2335
beatrice .weinberger @zeiss .com

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