Brisbane Planetarium

After almost three hectic months of being closed for upgrades (including more disruptive major weather events), the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium opened to crowds on Saturday, 30 March 2013.

We received very good media coverage, including a long prime-time ABC TV news segment in the evening and TV coverage on Thursday night on Ten, radio.

We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to attend APS 2013 here in the Brisbane Planetarium in just three weeks and experience our new upgrades.

Below in no particular order are some of the changes in the Brisbane Planetarium:

  • We gutted our Cosmic Skydome and displays areas.
  • Installed new displays in the foyer and gallery, as well as re-doing our shop – all look much improved.
  • Installed a new 12.5-m diameter Astro-Tec dome with a reflectivity of 44% versus the 35-year-old Zeiss dome’s 70% (better for the fulldome content). Less than one third of the number of panels as well.
  • Installed the new Ohira Tech Megastar-IIB optical star projector (the first IIB model in the southern hemisphere and only the second Megastar in this hemisphere – there is a IIA model in Buenos Aires).
  • Sky-Skan, which acted as overall prime contractor for the Skydome equipment and dome upgrades, including further improvements to their digital system installed in 2010, also built to our specific requirements a special lift for the Megastar and designed a new console. We also now have the addition of a manual panel for Sky-Skan’s DigitalSky control – so we have the choice of multiple interfaces, including keyboard and/or mouse. Sky-Skan has improved our software and loaded GIS data sets for Earth, the Moon and Mars. We also have scheduled further improvements before the end of the financial year in June.
  • We sent our seats out for re-covering and increased the number by five to 133; wheelchair spaces have increased from three to five. Seating is now colour-coded to accommodate both omni-directional or uni-directional shows.
  • We re-carpeted the Cosmic Skydome, including all the way up to the new lower profile LED lighting cove just below the springline. The old big coves are now gone and it looks so much better.

Mark Rigby
Curator, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

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