Digital Planetarium Systems

Digital Planetarium Systems

Aim an array of high-resolution video projectors at the projection dome. Feed them with synchronized, geometrically corrected, edge-blended images from computers. The result is magic: A seamless hemispheric image that engulfs the audience, extending beyond the periphery of their vision. We have been doing this since 1998 using affordable professional-quality hardware controlled by our amazing software. We were the first, and are still the best.

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Projector Arrays

Sky-Skan systems use between one and sixteen video projectors, located at or near the dome center, or out of sight beneath and behind the dome horizon. We carefully select high-quality projectors based on crucial criteria:

  • Image fidelity and stability for cinematic and simulation use
  • Available optics for optimized overlaps = maximum resolution
  • Reliability and longevity
  • Low noise output
  • Long-term serviceability
  • Total life-cycle cost – capital and operating

We avoid projectors that will flood your dome with “light pollution,” a ghastly gray luminosity that transforms your glorious visualization of a moonless night into a dystopian sky reminiscent of Blade Runner.

Our proprietary technique for automated geometric alignment uses permanently mounted cameras that achieve high resolution and very low signal-to-noise ratios for clean data. There’s no perceived “waviness” on the screen when objects such as planets and spacecraft move from one projector field to another. Our unique edge-blending process delivers pixel-perfect results.

DigitalSky - Dark Matter

The heart of a Sky-Skan planetarium is DigitalSky – Dark Matter, our cluster-based computing solution that combines programmable science simulation, fulldome video playback, external device control, and show performance control in one elegant, flexible, and powerful user interface.

We named Dark Matter after the mysterious stuff that ties galaxies together into a glittering web. With Dark Matter, you can say goodbye to needing separate computers for planetarium simulation, lighting, show control, and related functions. After all, to the audience it’s all one experience; why should it be different for you?

Into Dark Matter, we’ve poured everything we’ve learned from serving planetariums and creating programs for over half a century. Our heritage as the developer of SPICE Automation, the planetarium world’s multimedia control system of choice in the pre-fulldome era, means that we’ve got show control down to an art.

Dark Matter runs on powerful servers that feature top-quality nVidia graphics acceleration. Our servers are industrial-grade units that keep cool and keep working. They run on a special version of Windows that is designed for critical applications, are accessible for remote support by Sky-Skan service engineers, and are protected by a firewall.

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Accessories & Upgrades

A Sky-Skan Digital Planetarium can become more powerful by adding accessories and upgrades, at the time of purchase or afterwards.

Our many options include:

  • External Media Inputs – Put a laptop or game console on the dome, no need for a separate “inset” projector
  • Support for 3rd Party Hemispheric Applications – Run hemisphere-aware programs on your Sky-Skan system
  • Interactive Audience Response – Let audience members guide the show and take flight control
  • Roaming Presenter Show Control via Tablet
  • Stereoscopic 3D Display – Active and Passive
  • Manual Controls
  • Optical Star Projector Synchronization in “Hybrid Mode”
  • Visual Captioning and Assistive Listening
  • Descriptive Audio Feeds for Visually Impaired Guests
  • Alternative Narration Feeds for Multi-Lingual Audiences
  • Rolling System Upgrades – No need to buy a whole new system all at once
  • Show Slicing Farm and Software

For yet more, see the Service and Shows sections of this site.

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