June 2020


ZEISS unveils new planetarium projector

The all-new ZEISS ASTERION is an optomechanical component designed to be used with a digital fulldome system.

ZEISS is launching a new planetarium projector. The all-new ZEISS ASTERION is an optomechanical component designed to be used with a digital fulldome system. The projector features a new design with a Star Ball of the size of a medicine ball. It is the world's smallest and is suitable for use in planetariums with small and medium-sized domes (with a diameter from 8 m to 18 m) – and it generates the brightest night sky yet.

Even in the digital age, it is only possible to recreate a realistic night sky using an optomechanical projector. ZEISS ASTERION creates stars that are bright and clear, appearing as set points and in their natural brightness graduation. It can also project a very realistic Milky Way utilizing the latest Gaia data. And it does all this in a quality that no digital projector can match. The projector is controlled together and in sync with UNIVIEW, the digital representations of the sky. This allows the analog star projection and the constellation figures and astronomical coordinates that digitally fade in to blend with one another.

ASTERION is designed as an opto-mechanical hybrid component and shines with exactly what digital projections cannot: with stars, clear and bright, point-like and in natural gradation with a Milky Way that is particularly realistic to the eye.

“These days, planetariums that want to continue inspiring their visitors are looking for a projector that is incredibly small yet still capable of generating very bright stars, and is economical,” says Martin Kraus, Head of ZEISS Planetariums. So, ZEISS needed to miniaturize its high-tech optics. Planetariums won't just appreciate how much space this projector saves. ZEISS ASTERION consumes less energy (just 300 watts) than any other planetarium projector in the world. Long-lasting LED light sources mean you'll never need to replace projector bulbs!

In the digital age, no modern planetarium can do without a fulldome system. For many planetariums, however, this means having to forego an inspiring night sky, the kind you’ll almost only see high up in the mountains on a clear night, far from any and all distractions. According to Mr. Kraus, tiny, bright points of light like the stars against a pitch-dark sky have placed great demands on digital technology for the foreseeable.

Cutting-edge technologies like computer-assisted simulations and generative production processes such as additive manufacturing allow ZEISS to offer a miniaturized optomechanical planetarium projector that meets all the demands of the digital age. “We are confident that the projector will pique the curiosity of both our customers and the visitors that experience its power in the planetarium,” says Mr. Kraus.