The Dorrance Planetarium first opened its doors in April of 1997. Since those first days, nearly 2 million people have learned about the laws of nature that govern the cosmos and witnessed the beauty of the universe under our planetarium dome.
From the beginning, the Dorrance Planetarium has been on the cutting edge of planetarium projection technology. In 1997, our stars were created by the Digistar II star system- a system that used computer graphics to reproduce the Universe. Today, the Dorrance Planetarium is powered by the Digistar 5 system. Digistar 5 allows us to travel from the inside of protons to witness the interaction of quarks out to the farthest reaches of the Universe. In order to display our stunning visuals, we have two Sony SXRD projectors that, combined, put over sixteen million pixels on the dome. The dome itself is sixty feet in diameter and engineered in such a way that the seams for the panels are invisible which allows us to maintain a fully immersive illusion created by the Digistar system. Our dome was the first of its kind installed in the world at a science center or museum.
By programming our Digistar 5 system and creating original imagery with other computer software packages, we have the ability to produce our own planetarium shows. In the past year, our team has created Treehouse Adventures, Dateline Mars, Journey to the Edge of the Universe, and Attack of the Killer Space Rocks. In August, we won a Best of Show award at an international planetarium conference for our original content. Currently, we have started work on our newest production, Planet Hunters, which will open in August 2014.
Having upgraded technology is important. However, the most important piece of the planetarium is the show presenter. Our philosophy is to have a presenter interact with guests in each show in order to answer questions and present the latest astronomical news. We are fortunate enough to have some of the best presenters in the planetarium field. The Dorrance Planetarium presenter makes every show a personal experience for our guests.