Inside a planetarium projection hall.
(Belgrade Planetarium, Serbia)
Inside the same hall during projection.
(Belgrade Planetarium, Serbia)
A planetarium under construction in Nishapur, near the Mausoleum of Omar Khayyam.
The Eise Eisinga Planetarium
The Mark I projector installed in the Deutsches Museum in 1923 was the world's first planetarium projector.
Opened in 1955, the Surveyor Germán Barbato Municipal Planetarium in Montevideo, Uruguay, is the oldest planetarium in Latin America and the southern hemisphere.
Early Spitz star projector
A Goto E-5 projector.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Planetarium (Est.2003), Dhaka, Bangladesh uses Astrotec perforated aluminum curtain, GSS-Helios Space Simulator, Astrovision-70 and many other special effects projectors
A Sega Homestar home planetarium projector
A fulldome laser projection.
Artistic representations of the constellations projected during a planetarium show.
The dome of the Vilnius University Planetarium.
The dome of the Athens Planetarium.
The Hamburg Planetarium
The Large Zeiss Planetarium in Berlin, 1987.
Inside of the Planetarium located in the Science Factory (Vitenfabrikken) in Sandnes, Norway.
Dome of the Planetarium Science Center of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina
A small inflatable portable planetarium dome.
GM-II starfield projector at Priyadarshini Planetarium, Trivandrum, India
Priyadarshini Planetarium, Trivandrum, India
Tycho Brahe Planetarium, Copenhagen, Denmark

Theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation.

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California Academy of Sciences

Research institute and natural history museum in San Francisco, California, that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 46 million specimens.

The 90 ft diameter spherical glass dome enclosing the rainforest exhibit
View of the Amazonian flooded forest in the rainforest exhibit. Arapaima, arowana, catfish, pacus, cichlids and other fish species can be seen from a submerged acrylic tunnel.
A rare albino American alligator named Claude
An albino reticulated python named Lemondrop
One of the smaller coral exhibits in the aquarium
Academy of Sciences in 2003, two years before reconstruction began
The piazza behind the main entrance is flooded with natural light
Main entry
Entrance lobby lit from skylights
Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex
Gardener reveals scale of the roof landscape
Native vegetation, during the dry season
Roofscape resembles a hilly meadow
Overhead solar cells shade the entry facade
Solar cells, viewed from outdoors visitor waiting area
Visitor line on a monthly free admission day
Rainforests of the World enclosure
Interior of Rainforests of the World
African Hall
Exhibits on climate change
Exhibit about evolution
Nature resource center
Whale skeleton above large raised relief globe
Nature Hacking Playshop
Steinhart Aquarium
Philippine coral reef tank
Part of the Philippine coral reef
Giant clams in reef shallows

Morrison Planetarium - features a digitally controlled planetarium dome measuring 90 ft in diameter with a 75 ft diameter screen.


Fulldome refers to immersive dome-based video display environments.

An example of computer animation which is produced from the "motion capture" technique

Although the current technology emerged in the early-to-mid 1990s, fulldome environments have evolved from numerous influences, including immersive art and storytelling, with technological roots in domed architecture, planetariums, multi-projector film environments, flight simulation, and virtual reality.

Max Wolf

German astronomer and a pioneer in the field of astrophotography.

Max Wolf
The Bruce double astrograph at Heidelberg Observatory

In 1910 Wolf proposed to the Carl Zeiss optics firm the creation of a new instrument which would become known as the planetarium.


Mechanical model of the Solar System that illustrates or predicts the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons, usually according to the heliocentric model.

A small orrery showing Earth and the inner planets
Antikythera mechanism (main fragment), ca. 125 BCE
Carlo G Croce, reconstruction of Dondi's Astrarium, originally built between 1348 and 1364 in Padova
Astronomical clock (Venus-Mercury side), Eberhard Baldewein et al., Marburg-Kassel, 1563–1568 - Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Dresden - DSC08057
The Orrery inside the Sphaera Copernicana, designed by Joseph of Gottorp and build by Andreas Bösch, 1653
A Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery (ca. 1766) by Joseph Wright of Derby
The orrery built by wool carder Eise Eisinga from 1774 to 1781 in his living room, the oldest functioning planetarium in the world
A 1766 Benjamin Martin Orrery, used at Harvard
An orrery made by Robert Brettell Bate, circa 1812. Now in Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum.

Though the Greeks had working planetaria, the first orrery that was a planetarium of the modern era was produced in 1704, and one was presented to Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery – hence the name.

Carl Zeiss AG

German manufacturer of optical systems and optoelectronics, founded in Jena, Germany in 1846 by optician Carl Zeiss.

First workshop of Carl Zeiss in the city center of Jena, c. 1847.
Carl Zeiss Jena (1910)
One of Stasi's cameras with the special lens SO-3.5.1 (5 / 17mm), developed by Carl Zeiss, a so-called "needle eye lens", for shooting through keyholes, or holes down to 1 mm in diameter.
2 historical lenses Carl Zeiss, Jena, Nr. 145077 and Nr. 145078, Tessar 1:4,5 F=5,5cm DRP 142294 (produced before 1910).
Carl Zeiss jena APO-Germinar W B/150
VEB Zeiss Jena Flektogon lens engraved merely "Jena", as exported to West Germany (1967)
The manufacturer Zeiss in Göttingen
2004 Zeiss Ikon rangefinder with 35mm ƒ/2 Biogon lens.
A Zeiss 100 cm aperture reflecting telescope
Zeiss star projector for a planetarium
Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515 with Klio shutter and Novar-Anastigmat 11cm ƒ/4.5 lens
Vivo X60 featured the Zeiss co-engineered imaging system
Picture taken with a Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor 54/2 camera in 1971
Zeiss Otus 55mm & 85mm ƒ/1.4 lens
Zeiss Otus 28mm ƒ/1.4 lens
Zeiss Batis ƒ/2.0 25 mm
Zeiss Milvus ƒ/1.4 50 mm
Nokia 808 PureView with Zeiss lens
Zeiss pocket stereoscope

In 1991, Jenoptik Carl Zeiss Jena was split in two, with Carl Zeiss AG (Oberkochen) taking over the company's divisions for microscopy and other precision optics (effectively reuniting the pre-war Carl Zeiss enterprise) and moving its microscopy and planetarium divisions back to Jena.


Proprietary system of high-resolution cameras, film formats, film projectors, and theaters known for having very large screens with a tall aspect ratio and steep stadium seating.

A comparison between 35 mm and 15/70 mm negative areas.
IMAX projector with horizontal film reel
An IMAX cinema camera, displayed at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, England
The 15 kW Xenon short-arc lamp used in IMAX projectors
A typical entrance to an IMAX digital theater, such as the AMC Barton Creek Square 14 in Austin, Texas
Outside of the IMAX dome in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Planetario Alfa, museum, astronomical observatory and IMAX Dome system, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
The frame layout of the IMAX Dome film
The control room of an IMAX Dome theatre at Cosmonova at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, Sweden
Closeup of an IMAX Dome 70mm film reel at Cosmonova
Audiences view a film using 3D glasses.
Christopher Nolan has been a vocal supporter of the IMAX 70 mm film format, and has collaborated with the company since the mid-2000s.
STS 41-C mission specialist Terry J. Hart, holds a 70-pound IMAX camera in the mid-deck of the space shuttle Challenger in 1984.
IMAX Filming at Paranal Observatory

It doubles as a planetarium theater.

Celestial navigation

Ancient and continuing modern practice of position fixing using stars and other celestial bodies that enables a navigator to accurately determine their actual current physical position in space without having to rely solely on estimated positional calculations, commonly known as "dead reckoning", made in the absence of satellite navigation or other similar modern electronic or digital positioning means.

A diagram of a typical nautical sextant, a tool used in celestial navigation to measure the angle between two objects viewed by means of its optical sight.
Using a marine sextant to measure the altitude of the sun above the horizon
Two nautical ship officers "shoot" in one morning with the sextant, the sun altitude (1963)
The relative longitude to a position (for example Greenwich) can be calculated with the position of the sun and the reference time (for example UTC/GMT).

Celestial navigation training equipment for aircraft crews combine a simple flight simulator with a planetarium.

Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, appears in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew chapter 2 where "wise men from the East" (Magi) are inspired by the star to travel to Jerusalem.

Adoration of the Magi by Florentine painter Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337). The Star of Bethlehem is shown as a comet above the child. Giotto witnessed an appearance of Halley's Comet in 1301.
Adoration of the Magi, Chartres Cathedral, by Jehan de Beauce, France, 16th century.
Adoration of the Magi, by Jean Fouquet (15th century). The Star of Bethlehem can be seen in the top right. The soldiers and castle in the background may represent the Battle of Castillon (1453).
A zodiac from a 6th-century mosaic at a synagogue in Beit Alpha, Israel
Russian icon of the Nativity. The Star of Bethlehem is depicted at the center top as a dark semicircle, with a single ray coming down.
Woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld, 1860

The subject is a favorite at planetarium shows during the Christmas season.

Evans & Sutherland

Pioneering American computer firm in the computer graphics field.

The "fisheye" lens of the E&S planetarium projector in the Plovdiv Regional Natural History Museum, January 2016

Its current products are used in digital projection environments like planetariums.

Antikythera mechanism

Ancient Greek hand-powered orrery, described as the oldest example of an analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses decades in advance.

Derek J. de Solla Price (1922–1983) with a model of the Antikythera mechanism
Computer-generated front panel of the Freeth model
Front panel of a 2007 recreation
Computer-generated back panel
A hypothetical schematic representation of the gearing of the Antikythera Mechanism, including the 2012 published interpretation of existing gearing, gearing added to complete known functions, and proposed gearing to accomplish additional functions, namely true sun pointer and pointers for the five then-known planets, as proposed by Freeth and Jones, 2012. Based also upon similar drawing in the Freeth 2006 Supplement and Wright 2005, Epicycles Part 2. Proposed (as opposed to known from the artefact) gearing crosshatched.
Internal gearing relationships of the Antikythera Mechanism, based on the Freeth and Jones proposal
Su Song's Clock Tower
Lego Antikythera mechanism

Michael Wright was the first person to design and build a model with not only the known mechanism, but also, with his emulation of a potential planetarium system.