The Grand Daddy of them all

Zeiss Mark I
The IPS council meeting is scheduled to take place in a few days time in Bolzano. A couple of tours have been organised prior to the meeting including a visit to the famous Deutsches Museum in Munich. The Deutsches Museum is the oldest Science and Technology Museum in the world and it is enormous, with over 50,000 square metres of exhibition space. The highlight of this brief tour was a visit to the world’s first planetarium projector.
Zeiss Mark I_2

In 1913 the director of the Deutsches Museum, Oskar no Miller, commissioned the company of Carl Zeiss of Jena to design and build a planetarium that would demonstrate the starry sky, its daily rotation, and the orbital motion and appearance of the planets. After many years of planning headed by Professor Walther Bauersfeld, a design engineer at Zeiss, the first artificial sky was projected onto a dome at the Zeiss works in Jena August of 1923. The first planetarium projector was put into operation in May of 1925 on the occasion of the opening of the Deutsches Museum Collections building in Munich.

How fabulous it is, that this incredibly significant piece of technology that revolutionised astronomy education remains intact today, and there for all to visit. While it is somewhat ironic that Munich currently has no operating planetarium, this will soon change as the Deutsches Museum is currently undergoing a massive redevelopment that will see a fulldome planetarium installed back onto the rooftop of the building.

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