Digitarium® Planetarium Systems
A planetarium helps students grasp abstract astronomical concepts and can spark enjoyment and interest in science. Digitarium digital planetarium systems stand out in price and performance, putting a full-featured planetarium within reach.
Think of the possibilities of having your own easy to use, full-featured planetarium at your disposal. Avoid the headache and expense of organizing a fieldtrip to an off-site planetarium. You can use your projection system as often as you need to cover your subject matter fully, and you can tailor your lessons to your students.
Digitarium systems offer advanced features to excite and engage your students. Zoom in on and label any object; demonstrate annual motion; display constellations from many cultures ; and much more. The system's vast capabilities make it relevant for audiences of all ages. Project your own content on any subject.
Affordable and flexible, a Digitarium digital planetarium system will revolutionize your astronomy teaching.
Distinctive Benefits of Digitarium Systems
A number of features make our Digitarium system stand apart from other digital planetarium systems:
- Best usability. We believe our unique handheld, backlit remote control offers the best usability in the industry. It is easy to learn and use, and icons make it intuitive for any user around the world. With no separate control computer required, educators are liberated from complex software interfaces, aren't tethered to the projector, don't need to block audience sight lines, and need only a fraction of the setup time. Devote your attention to your students rather than your system.
- Lowest training costs. Due to its excellent usability, no special operator training is required other than reading the user manual. Our free lesson plans can get you started teaching right away.
- Fully immersive experience. We believe projecting the full sky and horizon is absolutely critical for effective planetarium teaching. If parts of the sky are missing, not only is it harder for students to orient themselves, but it places limitations on what you can demonstrate easily. The full immersive experience for an audience will be ruined by standard application windows, desktops, projector reconfigurations, and other awkward and jarring transitions. That's what makes our embedded system so magical.
- Reliable. The Digitarium systems do not use laptops which could overheat, and the operating software is stored on a highly reliable solid state flash disk. Our three year limited warranty is three times as long as that of most other systems.
- Upgradable and modular The modular design and shared components between Digitarium systems means they can be upgraded or serviced down the road at lower cost. Most components can be serviced locally in developed countries. The computer control unit can even be serviced by the user (with our instruction) should there be a problem.
- No software headaches. We manage your software for you, so you don't have to worry about it. We fix bugs and add features over time, and all you have to do is connect your system to an ethernet network and ask it to update itself. Software updates don't require hardware upgrades as one competitor cautions.
- Unique software expertise. We lead development of the simulation software that we use, Nightshade. Unlike many competitors, this means we are intimately familiar with the planetarium software in our systems. We can easily fix bugs, add features, and make these changes available to our users.
- Most cost effective full-sky digital planetarium system. We designed from the start for higher volume, lower overhead production and distribution, and lower pricing than our competitors in order to put our tools within reach of most educational institutions. Even at affordable prices, we believe our systems match or outperforms many more expensive models on the most important criteria for practical astronomy education. We invite you to compare competing products in person and see this value for yourself. Paper comparisons just are not the same as seeing in person.
- The market leader. You don't have to take our word that we have the best portable planetarium for astronomy educators. Our Digitarium systems are the best selling portable digital planetarium systems in the world. With the first model introduced in late 2003, we now have users across six continents.
- Demonstrate beginning through advanced astronomy concepts.
- Simulate the sky from any point on Earth or from other planets and moons.
- Move forward or backward in time at varying speeds.
- Simulate the solar system over a two million year time range.
- Show the effects of precession of the equinoxes and star proper motion over time.
- Show annual motion, including retrograde planetary motion.
- Simulate celestial phenomena such as transits and eclipses.
- Display orbits of the planets and moons.
- Display paths of solar system bodies against the stars.
- Display ecliptic, celestial equator, meridian, and equatorial and azimuthal grids.
- Show the entire celestial sphere with ONE piece of equipment.
- Experience atmospheric effects, such as sunsets or a blue sky (or turn off the atmosphere to view the stars during the day).
- Zoom in on or label items of interest.
- Show constellation outlines, names, and artwork one at a time, a few at a time, or all at once.
- Show constellations from multiple cultures (Western, Polynesian, Chinese, Navajo, ancient Egyptian, Lakota, Inuit, Inca, and more).
- Label the sky in approximately 70 different languages.
- Easily project your own image or video content using a USB drive or the internal hard drive.
- Use the video-in port to project other applications from a separate computer, if desired.
- Play fulldome video shows with 5.1 channel surround sound support.
- Play 360 spherical video easily.
- Use the powerful scripting feature to create your own shows, short segments, or special effects.
- Easy, automated software upgrades over the Internet keep you up to date with the latest features. Software updates are included free for the life of the system.
- One projector does it all. No need for constellation projectors, slide projectors, multiple cylinders, etc.
- Remote control with backlit buttons works from anywhere in the dome. No need to hover over the projector and block your audience's view.
Quick and Easy
- Our unique backlit handheld remote control is the easiest interface to learn and use. No separate computer or extensive training is required.
- Plug it in, turn it on, and you're ready to project in about one minute.
- Start up to your default settings for latitude, longitude, sky time, and more.
- Automatic positioning and phasing of celestial objects.
- It's so straightforward, you don't need to be an astronomer to run it!
- Low maintenance.
- No laptops to overheat or break
- Three year limited warranty on all components except the DLP projection component, which is warranted through the original manufacturer (see specific models for details).
- Countdown of projector bulb life helps avoid the surprise of a burned out bulb.
- Modern fixed planetarium features at a fraction of the typical cost.
- Opportunity to generate extra revenue introducing the Digitarium to other interested organizations through our Customer Referral Program.
Digitarium General Specifications
These specifications apply to all current Digitarium models.
User adjustable focus and centering
Most interaction with the projector is with a hand-held remote control, much like a TV remote. The primary remote is backlit for use in a dark dome, and buttons are labeled with icons. This remote controls all aspects of the sky, your settings, and multi-media display.
No keyboard, mouse, monitor, or laptop is required. Using a remote control, all commands are at your fingertips anywhere in the dome.
You can also use our Universal Console™ software for elegant system control from multiple computing devices, including the Apple iPad®. The Universal Console software is included with all fixed dome purchases and is available as an optional add on for portable systems.
1 TB (1000 GB) or more. Used to store images, videos, data sets, and scripts on the system for your convenience. The Digitarium CU-1 control unit currently supports an additional 6 TB for add on data sets.
The planetarium software used is Nightshade, maintained by Digitalis. Please download a version if you are curious.
Our Digitarium software platform allows very flexible image and video display. Place media on the dome where you want it in real time and even mirror it for better audience visibility. All distortion correction is done on the fly so you can easily show regular "rectangular" media on the dome. And of course, playing fulldome videos is a breeze.
Underlying everything is the open source Linux operating system, although this is completely hidden from you. Source code for all open source software used in the system is available to our customers.
Also included is a 1 TB USB drive with images and videos which complement our free lesson plans.
For increased flexibility you can project your own video or images. Simply copy your files to a USB drive and plug it into the system. You can also copy files to the large internal drive. MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 are our best supported video formats, although other codecs may work. Most image formats are supported.
This feature opens up your dome to any topic you might want to explore, even other subject areas besides astronomy. Free videos and images on countless topics are available on many websites, and you can also purchase third party pre-recorded planetarium shows.
Systems using the Digitarium CU-1 control unit output audio (for video soundtracks) through three audio jacks for full 5.1 channel surround sound (when your video file supports this). You supply a speaker system of your choice. For fixed systems, we can offer professional audio systems through Bowen Technovation.
Portable systems using the smaller Digitarium CU-S or CU-Z control units support stereo output.
A video-in port allows you to project from a separate computer should you need to. This gives you complete projection control if you have special requirements.
Updated Dec 1 2016
In July, our first Beginners' Session using the [Digitarium Alpha] planetarium was a big hit -- it was hard to get people to go outside and look at the REAL stars, although it was a beautiful night.
— Catherine Koehler, Battle Point Astronomical Association, Bainbridge Island, WA