This month, visitors at the Center of Science and Industry will get to experience the onsite planetarium for the first time in a decade.
This month, visitors at the Center of Science and Industry will get to experience the onsite planetarium for the first time in a decade. While the 60-foot dome will remain, COSI is renovating the entrance area, which will feature space photography, to the 200-seat planetarium and installing a digital projector system in preparation of the Nov. 22 opening.
Before it closed in 2004 in the midst of financial pains, the planetarium featured a star-ball system, a projector that emulated the night sky. The new system will use two 4K projectors to overlay and blend images. "I grew up going to the original COSI and seeing planetarium shows," says Ty Owen, manager of theater programs, of the original COSI location at 280 E. Broad St. "Typically when people think of planetariums, they think of a star-ball system. With this new system being all digital, we can really call up any image we want that's anywhere in the galaxy, or any video or audio inputs."
That means COSI can use the space for educational programming ranging from pictures and videos of the human body or the ocean to a digital rollercoaster or live music set to visual effects. "There's Google Earth and satellite images we didn't have last time [the planetarium] was open," says Kate Storm, COSI's director of theaters. But the star of the show, of course, will be the stars. "Before every show, we'll open with the astronomy content," Owens says of an astronomy show that will change with the seasons. "We want to give you a sense of what you would see if you look up into the night sky. But you've never really seen stars in the way we're going to show them to you."