Planetarium Tour

The Southwest Minnesota State University Planetarium is located in SM (Science & Math Building) Room 108. SMSU's planetarium houses a Spitz 512 star projector system with a 30-foot dome. The Spitz 512 planetarium projector, located at the center of the theater, is the heart of the planetarium and can accurately simulate the night sky as seen from anywhere on Earth thousands of years in the past OR future. When the room lights are darkened, the dome is transformed into an amazingly realistic simulation of the starry sky. The Spitz 512 is capable of projecting the sun, moon, the 5 naked-eye planets, and about 4,000 stars on the domed ceiling with accuracy in brightness and color.

The result is a simulation of the nighttime sky that can be seen day or night — cloudy or clear. During summer 2009 the planetarium went through significant renovations and upgrades including new carpet, chairs, sound system, lighting, and control console. Two new projectors supplement the original Spitz opto-mechanical projector: a fulldome digital projection system called Uniview and a fulldome RGB state-of-the art laser projection system.

Uniview is the most feature-rich astronomical visualization and universal data exploration platform available. Uniview is a computer graphics platform bringing information databases to life in a 3D environment much like an immersive computer game. Loaded with scientific content, Uniview brings the audience to the science and allows truly meaningful and engaging presentations.

The SMSU Planetarium has now entered a new era with Fulldome Digital Shows. Experience immersive high-tech adventures in an all-around projected computer generated virtual environment. The Fulldome Experience is the biggest advance in the Planetarium's capabilities since the theater opened almost 40 years ago. Audiences can fall through a black hole, witness the beginnings of the universe, fly through Saturn's rings, swim with whales and much more! Viewers feel like they are part of the unfolding scene, whether it's on the bottom of the ocean or in some distant part of the universe.

The Planetarium's auxiliary equipment includes a triple rear-screen projector system in the front. There is a slide automation system connected to an array of slide projectors, a state-of-the-art stereo sound system used for background music, sound effects, and program narration. The sound system includes a high fidelity amplifier connected to 5 speakers mounted behind the aluminum perforated dome along with powerful subwoofers providing 5.1 surround sound. There are several special-effects projectors including a warp drive projector, a zoom projector, and a zoom/slew projector system.

Not far from the planetarium is a roof-top observation deck and telescopes for observing the real sky.

Last Modified: 7/6/17 12:23 PM