ZEISS Hybrid Planetarium



Planetarium projection without compromises

  • Introduction

    Planetarium projection without compromises

    It takes an optical-mechanical planetarium projector to simulate a starry sky that is really brilliant, one that captivates and inspires the audience. At the same time, who would forgo the flexibility of a digital planetarium? For small and medium-sized domes, ZEISS offers the no-compromise combination of analog star projection with ZEISS SKYMASTER ZKP 4 LED and VELVET LED digital fulldome projection. No compromise means (a) that the digitally projected imagery will not spoil the brilliance of the stars on the night sky and (b) that the digital and analog planetarium projections will always be in perfect register.

    A convenient-to-handle control panel and sophisticated software make it possible for the analog and digital planetarium functions to be operated simultaneously. ZEISS ensures that all digital features – such as, e.g., the 88 constellation figures – automatically register with the optically projected stars.


    In SKYMASTER ZKP 4 LED, ZEISS combines two leading-edge technologies that make for tiny but extremely bright and pin-sharp stars: Fiber optics and LED light sources. Never before was the artificial night sky so close to the natural one. ZEISS SKYMASTER ZKP 4 LED displays exactly the number of stars that can be discerned by human eyes under best viewing conditions at night, while not overloading the sky on a small or medium-sized planetarium dome. Here‘s an artificial starry sky as clear as the natural one at its best.


    The ZEISS VELVET LED projectors are in every respect just perfect for dome projection, offering absolute black where black is part of the image. Digital planetarium functions can, without any compromise, be combined with the optically projected stars, with nothing dulling the velvety black background of the night sky.
    For dome-filling (360°x180°) and shadow-free projection, two VELVET LED projectors are used, installed right next to the SKYMASTER ZKP 4 LED. The integrated software makes easy jobs of show compilation and playback.

  • Features

    Realistic, true-to-nature depiction of the Sky
    ZEISS SKYMASTER ZKP 4 LED permits high-accuracy topocentric presentations. Sophisticated projection systems with fiber optics and LED illumination provide the best projection of the starry sky ever seen in a small planetarium. Each individual star is directly lighted by pure white light through a separate optical fiber. The Milky Way, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies are all presented with high detail accuracy. The planetarium projector demonstrates all planets of the solar system, planetary moons, comets, selected satellites, and even selected star motions. Digital control allows fast jumps across long periods of time.

    Live or fully automatic operation – as you like it
    The control system satisfies state-of-the-art standards, with the hardware providing excellent reliability, and the software enabling exceptionally convenient operation. Live shows are just as easy to do as automatic runs. A handy control panel provides all functions needed for live operation.

    powerdome coupling

    With ZEISS SKYMASTER VELVET the opto-mechanical and the digital planetarium functions are directly combined. This combination enables synchronous coupling of optical-mechanical and digital fulldome projections. ZEISS ensures that all digital features – such as constellation figures – automatically register with the optically projected stars. The user is free to assign show parts and functions to the planetarium projector and to the digital system.


    Digital fulldome projection is performed by two high-resolution VELVET LED projectors designed and manufactured by ZEISS. They are the only DLP projectors on the market that delivere absolute black where black is in the image. The ZEISS VELVET LED projectors are the best to match with optical-mechanical star projections. Blends between the image channels are invisible, even in most critical projections.

    Rigid, reliable and stable
    The projector design is of highest quality for longevity and stability. This applies to both, the projector steadiness and the image stability. Lamp change is accomplished quickly and easily. All projectors come with mounts for rigid installation and easy adjustment.

  • Functions
    • Combined optical-mechanical (planetarium projector) and digital (fulldome video) planetarium functions
    • Optical starfield with brilliant stars in pure white color and all bright stars with individual natural colors, Milky Way, star clusters, gaseous nebulae and galaxies
    • Bright optical representation of planets, Sun, Moon and other solar system objects, gegenschein, and for demonstrating satellite orbits, star motions, novae, etc.
    • Bright optical representation of Moon with clearly visible surface details, automatic and independent phase change
    • Direct setting of sky positions and observation times within a few seconds (leaps in time and space) for optical as well as digital planetarium functions
    • Topocentric presentations at high accuracy: exact Moon positions, planet conjunctions, etc.
    • Automatic presentation of the analemma and other motion combinations
    • Heliocentric solar system (Orrery)
    • Diurnal, annual polar altitude, precession and azimuth motion
    • Diurnal motion possible in real time
    • The changing phases of the Moon can be shown while the Moon is moving or stationary
    • Control system with SKYPOST software and control panel for manual operation of opto-mechanical and digital functions
    • Immense spectrum of digital planetarium functions for teaching und training (grids, scales, constellation figures, outlines, stick figures, asterisms, large circles, nautical triangle, etc.); all with selectable colors)
    • Planet zoom, phase control and surface details (digital planetarium)
    • Planet Earth as 3D object with selectable observation points, clouds, grid, rotation axis, and many more functions
  • Configuration

    ZEISS SKYMASTER VELVET rendering perspective view


    ZEISS SKYMASTER VELVET rendering south view


    ZEISS SKYMASTER VELVET rendering west view

  • Technical Data
    Projection dome
    Dome diameters:
    8 m to 14 m (26 ft to 46 ft)
    Height of horizon:
    2055 mm
    Seating capacity:
    40 to 120 seats, approx.
    Resolution of fulldome projection:
    approx. 4.6 million pixels net (2.5k)
    Height, max./min.:
    2750 / 1725 mm
    Diameter substructure:
    780 mm
    approx. 280 kg
    Starry sky:
    approx. 7000 stars (down to magnitude 6.3), Milky Way, 26 nebulae and galaxies
    Solar system:
    Sun, Moon, planets, dwarf and minor planets, comets
    Didactic functions: Great circles, scales, pole markers, compass rose,
    38 constellation figures, nautical triangle (selectable)
    Motions: Diurnal motion, azimuth rotation, polar altitude variation, annual motion, precession, vertical circle rotation, hour circle rotation
    Projector (width x height x depth):
    approx. 674 mm x 729 mm x 550 mm
    Projector weight:
    approx. 80 kg
    ZEISS True Black Projection Technology
    LVDS DMD™ with DarkChip3™
    WQXGA (2560 x 1600)
    Lens: ZEISS DIGIGON 178
    Contrast: 2,500,000 : 1
    ZEISS powerdome
    Computer cluster:
    Master PC, control PC and two graphic PCs
    Data storage:
    NAS, 3 TB or more, Raid 5
    1 GB Ethernet
    Additional components: Ethernet switch, KVM switches
    5.1 SPDIF
    19" PC rack; 1320 mm (h) x 600 mm (w) x 900 mm (d)
    Installation: outside dome, technical room
    project specific cable ducts
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