MSUM Planetarium gets new digital projector

Experience will be immersive, dynamic and far-reaching

Imagine leaning back in a comfortable, climate-controlled room and diving into the depths of the ocean, flying to the mountaintops on Earth or soaring out to the furthest known quasar.

This seamless visualization will soon be available in MSUM’s with its new digital Elumenati projector and Uniview scientific software. The new projector will allow MSUM to provide shows that are more dynamic and far-reaching than traditional programming seen at the Planetarium since 1972.

“Our current projector system is almost 39 years old, and even though it’s been well maintained, its capabilities are limited,” said David Weinrich, MSUM Planetarium coordinator and president of the International Planetarium Society.

The Elumenati projector will be installed this weekend, Oct. 28-29, and is the first step in a larger renovation to include an advanced Mediaglobe digital projector, a laser system, a new dome, speakers and lighting. Once the upgrade is completed, the Elumenati will travel to area schools, libraries and museums, benefiting thousands in the region.

Immersive Environment

The biggest change for audience goers will be the dynamic and total immersion experience they will now have. Uniview is the most feature-rich astronomical visualization and universal data exploration platform on the market.

“This new projector and software will supplement our main astronomy projector and allow us to provide shows that take audiences to places that we can’t go to in real life, such as traveling inside a human cell,” Weinrich said.

MSUM becomes only the 100th installation of this software in the world, joining the world’s premier science institutions that use this system—NASA, American Museum of Natural History, California Academy of Science, Adler Planetarium and Hamburg Planetarium, among others.

More than Astronomy

Students will now explore topics that have been difficult to demonstrate before, such as a three-dimensional look at the Milky Way. Immersive programming may include diving in a coral reef, touring the Valley of the Kings or exploring the Sistine Chapel. The cinema arts and digital technologies department may use the planetarium as a performance space for experimental 3D graphic animation and simulated holographic work.

Applications exist far beyond physics and astronomy, such as Earth science, biology, art history, marine biology, chemistry, geosciences and more.

This technology can also provide a platform for discussing local issues. “We can download images to monitor the Red River during flooding or view the expansive growth of Devils Lake over time,” Weinrich said. “

This new projector will expand the Planetarium’s power and reach exponentially.   It’s not just astronomy programming anymore, Weinrich said. “What should we call it today?”