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Planetarium first in Texas with new technology

News Release — 8 October 2009


Media contact: Sue Stevens, Senior Media Relations Officer, 817-272-3317,

ARLINGTON - The Planetarium at UT Arlington reopens Monday, Oct. 12, with the first Digistar 4 technology in Texas, offering brighter and sharper images. Digistar 4 planetarium software is capable of generating 3D graphics, as well as playing immersive full-dome video. The upgrade includes a new digital light processing projection system that brings digital clarity to make images and videos crisper and brighter.

"Imagine taking a ride around Saturn in three dimensions," said Planetarium Director Levent Gurdemir. "That is the effect the viewer will experience with the new equipment and software."

Digistar4 is still under development and the upgrade will be ongoing with final release of the software to be made in November.

The Planetarium, 700 Planetarium Place, also will premiere its third original production, "Unseen Universe: The Vision of SOFIA," at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a 2.5 meter telescope carried aboard a Boeing 747 airplane. The show, funded by a grant from NASA, was developed by Manfred Cuntz, associate professor of physics and the planetarium staff. Viewers will experience the sensation of flying with SOFIA and learn how stars and planets are formed as they explore all parts of the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum.

Visit the planetarium Web site for the fall schedule, which includes seven shows, four of them new. In addition to "The Vision of SOFIA," they include:

  • IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) is an Adler Planetarium production funded by NASA. The new mission, IBEX, explores the outer edge of the Solar System. Visit this NASA Web site to read NASA's press release about this show.
  • Two Small Pieces of Glass, developed by leading show producers around the world, is the official show of the International Year of Astronomy. It was funded by the National Science Foundation and distributed to planetariums worldwide. It tells of two teenage students, who attend a local star party and learn how the telescope has helped us understand our place in space and how telescopes continue to expand our understanding of the universe. Their conversation with a local female astronomer enlightens them on the history of the telescope and its discoveries. The students see how telescopes work and how the largest observatories in the world use the instruments to explore the mysteries of the universe. Visit this Web site for more information.
  • Microcosm Medicine explores the human eye by traveling through a cell.
  • Secret of the Cardboard Rocket is the most popular children show in the Metroplex and involves children making a cardboard rocket and flying to planets of the Solar System.

The complete fall schedule is posted at


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