The original Morrison Planetarium opened in 1952 with the best technology of its day. Now, 56 years later, it will repeat the feat. Now that it has reopened, the new Morrison Planetarium will be the largest all-digital planetarium in the world. New projector and software technologies, driven in part by advances in the video game industry, will allow the planetarium to produce the most accurate and interactive digital Universe ever created.
Properly lit, the dome will seem infinite to the entering visitor, creating a uniquely immersive experience and a true-to-life re-creation of a remote, luminous, and pristine sky. Audience members will view a show that fills almost half their field of view and moves at a rate of 30 images per second, which visually approximates an alternate reality—corresponding not to an experience under a dome, but to an experience inside an environment.
The planetarium has the flexibility to host many events: live NASA feeds, broadcasts from Academy scientists in the field, solar eclipses half a world away, traditional star shows, school group shows, musical events, and more. In the opening year, the planetarium's main program will be Fragile Planet, a 30-minute virtual journey from the Earth to the outer reaches of the Universe and back—a journey to discovering how special the planet Earth really is.