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Our History and Present Technology

Our History

The Planetarium was opened on November 16, 1988.  It originally contained a Spitz Space Voyager projection system, recently replaced by our Definiti Theater, housed under a 20.6 meter (67.5 feet) dome that is tilted at an angle of 27 degrees.  At the present time, the Hummel Planetarium is one of the largest and most sophisticated Planetariums in the United States, especially on a university campus.  The Planetarium originally seated 164, currently seats 194.

The projection equipment used to simulate the night sky consisted of a star ball that measured one meter in diameter and was capable of projecting up to 10,164 stars. Other equipment included five planet projectors, a sun projector, and two image projectors that were used to project the moon or a variety of other objects both natural and man-made.

When all projectors were operated simultaneously, a sky could be created as seen from any point on earth, anytime during the day or night, up to 100,000 years in the past or future.  A special feature of the Space Voyager projection system was its ability to not only show you the sky as seen from earth, but also from any point within 100 astronomical units (9,300,000,000 miles) of the Earth.  This made it possible to see the sky as it would appear from any planet or moon within our solar system, or any point in between.

A separate computer system allowed the control of hundreds of special effects projectors. Examples include projection of objects that move with the star field, a video projector on a pan/tilt mount, dozens of slide projectors, three panorama systems, and dozens of special effects projectors to simulate such things as comets, meteors, asteroids, eclipses, and much more.

Other features of the Hummel Planetarium include a computer controlled house lighting system which can create dozens of special lighting effects, and a sophisticated audio system used for music, narration, and sound effects.

A visit to Hummel Planetarium is a trip through the universe, and offers an opportunity to experience the wonders that await us at the center of our galaxy or simply view the beauty of the sky above us.

Definiti Theaters

Definiti projection systems bring the digital world of DigitalSky to a dome screen through a high-tech array of computers and projectors. Projectors, lenses, Definiti graphics computers, and DigitalSky software work in perfect tandem to maximize image quality and performance.

The audience experience is second to none as high-resolution video streams are stitched into one seamless picture to immerse audiences in 360 degree environments.  Through incredible science visualizations, journey inside a tree’s leaf to discover an incredible micro-sized world, swim amongst the creatures in a coral reef, or take a fantastic voyage through space to the edge of the universe.    

Definiti theaters educate, entertainment and engage audiences in ways that flat screen theaters cannot.  

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