UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics News

Ritter Planetarium to debut new 3-D projector to UT community Oct. 15

By Jon Strunk

Ritter Planetarium will reopen its doors to the UT community Saturday, Oct. 15, following a six-month renovation and the installation of one of the most advanced 3-D projectors in the world.

Dr. Michael Cushing looked up at a depiction of a star warping the fabric of space in Ritter Planetarium. The brilliant image is courtesy of a new Spitz SciDome XD projector.

Members of the UT community are invited to experience “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity” during free viewings at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. The film is narrated by Liam Neeson.

“Viewers are going to be absolutely blown away by the visual effects we’re now able to project,” said Dr. Michael Cushing, assistant professor of astronomy and director of Ritter Planetarium. “Everyone from the person who can name every constellation in the sky to those unfamiliar with astronomy will walk away with a better understanding of science and with a really exciting experience.”

The new Spitz SciDome XD projects more than 6.5 million pixels across the entire hemisphere of the 40-foot dome, more than double the resolution of the best HD television screens. The result is a feeling of immersion as planets, stars and nebulae rush past.

“Ritter Planetarium is the first facility in the nation to utilize this projection system, and we wanted to be sure the University community got the first chance to see it,” Cushing said.

The planetarium will open to the public Saturday, Oct. 29.

While the projector will be the most obvious transformation, the planetarium also had new carpet and seats installed, and the exterior of the building was revamped as well.

The renovations will ensure that Ritter Planetarium remains central to astronomical education and the sharing of new research results with the public well into the next several decades, said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“University of Toledo scientists have earned international acclaim for discoveries investigating the origins of planets, stars, galaxies and celestial phenomena,” said Bjorkman, Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy. “With some 25,000 people, many of them school children, counting on The University of Toledo for the most dramatic and lasting lessons on the universe, Ritter Planetarium provides us a unique opportunity to tell our students, our community and the world about a universe we’re understanding more every day.”

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