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.