Digistar 4 is Armagh Planetarium’s fantastic new projection system. First in the UK to install Digistar 4, Armagh Planetarium is showcasing latest theatre technology and dazzling audiences who experience the Universe as brighter and sharper than ever before.
Armagh Planetarium is leading the way in the digital theatre world with the installation of our brand new Digistar 4 Theatre System. This marks the first installation of the world’s most advanced star theatre system in the UK, enabling audiences to see the Cosmos like never before.
Since 1968 when Armagh Planetarium first opened we have had four other projection systems, the first two were electromechanical devices using lots of lenses, mirrors and incandescent bulbs, made by GoTo and Viewlex Minolta, while the next two reflected the move to digital planetarium theatre systems, they were a Digistar 2 and a Digistar 3. We have just installed a new Digistar 4, the latest in the Digistar series.
Digistar 4 features spectacular digital images and sounds that create a complete sensory experience that will spark the imagination of young and older minds alike. The 360-degree full dome experience can take the audience on a tour of the night sky as can be seen over Ireland or anywhere else in the Universe, show spectacular images of the Solar System and the viewer can even witness the raw power of the Cosmos as stars collapse and worlds collide. The amazing ‘out of this world’ images will have a lasting impact our visitors.
The new system can use today’s and tomorrow’s latest video projection technologies for full-dome display. Digistar also has a powerful show production system available so it is possible for us to create custom-made full-dome movies. Armagh Planetarium will have a range of different shows on offer during the summer months to display this advancement in modern technology alongside home-grown night sky presentations to show stars, constellations and other interesting objects in our night sky.
Armagh Planetarium was the first in the world to use video projectors to show moving images on the dome. This experiment was the start of the planetarium video revolution, and it was first realised here as the brainchild of Terence Murtagh, a former Director of Armagh Planetarium.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Digistar 4 has “come home” as it represents the latest incarnation of the digital planetarium. It is an amazing piece of equipment. The “brain” is a rack of ten computers, one of which manages the whole system, controlling all of the others like the conductor of an orchestra. A second is the audio computer, and it controls all of the sound. The other eight are the graphics processors and the images they produce are electronically knit together and blended to turn the eight channels into one image. You should come and see the results for yourself. A very detailed scientifically correct night sky is programmed into the system, and we can use the Digistar 4 like a time machine to fly wherever we choose within the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. In this modern system the only limit is your imagination.
To celebrate the arrival of the Digistar 4 Theatre System, Armagh Planetarium will be holding a special launch day on 2 July. This will be a fun day for all the family with all the usual fun activities plus special events including an invasion by an army of Star Wars Storm Troopers!
(Contributors to this post: Michael Daut (E&S), Sinead McNicholl, Tom Mason and Colin Johnston)