shows have gone world class
Below and at the top of this page are images from the colorful fulldome
video that was shown during the Jan. 26 ceremony. The new technology expands
Morehead’s ability to feature all the sciences, not strictly astronomy.
Last week, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s
historic Star Theater completed its makeover from analog to fulldome digital
video technology. The state-of-the-art change was made possible by a $1.5
million gift from GlaxoSmithKline, and the theater has been renamed the
“We are pleased to award this gift in support of Morehead’s
efforts to transform the Star Theater,” said Janice Whitaker, GSK senior vice
president for quality, global manufacturing and supply. “We hope it will help a
historic science resource continue to develop and fuel a love of science and
the stars in millions more visitors.”
The new fulldome digital video technology is a world-class
projection system that puts Morehead in the same class as the National Museum
of Air and Space, the American Museum of Natural History and the Griffith
Observatory. Morehead’s theater is the largest fulldome installation in the
“For Morehead, this is truly our next giant leap,” said Todd
Fulldome digital video creates an immersive environment in
which each visitor is surrounded by the sights and sounds of the planetarium
show. Morehead visitors can experience the new technology through
super-high-definition 4000-by-4000 pixel resolution, a 5.1 channel digital
surround-sound system and reconfigured seating for better sight lines.
Because fulldome digital video technology is a standard
format that many planetariums share, Morehead can expand its offerings by
leasing shows from other planetariums as well as enhance its revenue by leasing
its shows to other planetariums. As a result, Morehead can offer programs that
serve as a gateway to all the sciences, not just astronomy.
A new version of Morehead’s popular “Earth, Moon and Sun”
planetarium show, recreated for fulldome digital video, has already been leased
to four other planetariums in the United States and is under consideration for
lease by planetariums in Brazil and Hong Kong.
The 40-year-old Zeiss Model VI analog projector still will
be used for shows geared for school field trips into the next school year.
Plans have not yet been finalized for the two-ton projector once it is no
longer in use.
Morehead Planetarium and Science Center was founded in 1949
by John Motley Morehead III. It has hosted planetarium shows for more than 7
million visitors and helped train astronauts in celestial navigation in the
1960s and 1970s. Morehead expects more than 160,000 visitors, including nearly
85,000 schoolchildren, during the next year.
A $1.5 MILLION GIFT FROM GLAXOSMITHKLINE supports the
conversion of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s historic Star Theater
from analog to fulldome digital video technology. In recognition of the gift,
the theater has been renamed the GlaxoSmithKline Fulldome Theater.
Above, officials on hand for the Jan. 26 renaming ceremony
are, from left, N.C. Speaker of the House Joe Hackney; Chancellor Holden Thorp;
Janice Whitaker from GlaxoSmithKline; Gerald Rudisill Jr., deputy chief
secretary of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety; and Todd
Boyette, director of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. They are posing
with third-grade students from McDougle Elementary School in Carrboro and
Charles E. Perry Elementary School in Roseboro, the first schoolchildren in
North Carolina to watch a fulldome digital video planetarium show at Morehead.