Digitarium® Alpha Portable Digital Planetarium Projector
This model has been discontinued. Please see our current models.
|Angle of projection
|Field of view
||180 degrees (full sky)
||768 pixels across a diameter
|Pixels per degree of sky
|Maximum Dome Diameter
||Approximately 26 feet. Brightness
is the main
issue, since the larger the dome,
the larger the surface area the light from the projector must cover.
A complete lens redesign released in November, 2004 has significantly improved image quality compared to the original lens design.
Violet chromatic aberration is present, however we do not believe that this will distract from your teaching. This is a tradeoff in the interest of an affordable system.
||100-240 VAC 50/60Hz 5-2A
||FCC Class B, UL Listed, CE
Projector: 14 x 14.25 x 14.75 inches (35.6 x 36.2 x 37.5 cm)
Transit case: 20 x 20 x 20 inches (50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm)
Projector: 41 pounds/18.6 kg
Both are ruggedly built for extensive daily use. The transit case top doubles as a stand for the projector in a portable dome environment.
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.
A secondary remote is used less frequently, and is used to turn on and off the projection lamp and check or reset remaining bulb life. This remote also has a laser pointer embedded in it.
No keyboard, mouse, monitor, or laptop is used. Using a remote control, all commands are at your fingertips anywhere in the dome.
The planetarium software used is Nightshade.
Underlying everything is the open source Linux operating system, although this is completely hidden from you.
For increased flexibility, the Digitarium Alpha allows you to project your own video or images. Simply burn your files to a recordable CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, and pop it into the drive in the projector. Use the remote control to browse the directory structure on your disk, and select videos or images to view. Most video and 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.
Audio (for video soundtracks) is supplied through an audio jack on the projector. Good sound quality can be achieved with standard PC-type amplified speakers that you supply.
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 April 20, 2005
[Our Zeiss starball] projector itself was great but we could not find any 'good' new shows for this format (slides). I told my boss it was like having a perfectly running car that required leaded gas to run. It works fine but no fuel available... Thankfully our entire group decided... to move into the digital age.
— Jim Duke, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR