Zeiss projector

A Zeiss projector is one of a line of planetarium projectors manufactured by the Carl Zeiss Company.

The first modern planetarium projectors were designed and built in 1924 by the Zeiss Works of Jena, Germany in 1924.[1] Zeiss projectors are designed to sit in the middle of a dark, dome-covered room and project an accurate image of the stars and other astronomical objects on the dome. They are generally large, complicated, and imposing machines.

The first Zeiss Mark I projector (the first planetarium projector in the world) was installed in the Deutsches Museum in Munich in August, 1923.[2] It possessed a distinctive appearance, with a single sphere of projection lenses supported above a large, angled "planet cage". Marks II through VI were similar in appearance, using two spheres of star projectors separated along a central axis that contained projectors for the planets. Beginning with Mark VII, the central axis was eliminated and the two spheres were merged into a single, egg-shaped projection unit.

The Mark I projector installed in the Deutsches Museum in 1923 was the world's first planetarium projector.
Proyector Planetario Humboldt, Caracas, Venezuela (144898406)
The Mark III modified projector installed in the Planetario Humboldt 1950 in Caracas - Venezuela.It is the oldest of Latin America.
ZeissPlanetariumProjector MontrealPlanetarium
Marks II through VI utilized two small spheres of lenses separated along a central axis.
Universarium in Planetarium Hamburg
Beginning with Mark VII, Zeiss projectors adopted a new, egg-shaped design.
Zeiss mkIX Universarium
The Mark IX Universarium is currently the most advanced model. This example was installed in 2006 at The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Zeiss Mark IV Sphere
Closeup of a lens bearing sphere of the Zeiss Mark IV planetarium projector on display at the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai, India.

History of development and production

The Mark I was created in 1923–1924 and was the world's first modern planetarium projector.[2] The Mark II was developed during the 1930s by Carl Zeiss AG in Jena. Following WWII division of Germany and the founding of Carl Zeiss (West Germany) in Oberkochen (while the original Jena plant was located in East Germany), each factory developed its own line of projectors.[3].[3]

Marks III – VI were developed in Oberkochen (West Germany) from 1957–1989. Meanwhile, the East German facility in Jena developed the ZKP projector line.[3] The Mark VII was developed in 1993 and was the first joint project of the two Zeiss factories following German reunification.[3]

As of 2011, Zeiss currently manufactures three main models of planetarium projectors. The flagship Universarium models continue the "Mark" model designation and use a single "starball" design, where the fixed stars are projected from a single egg-shaped projector, and moving objects such as planets have their own independent projectors or are projected using a full-dome digital projection system. The Starmaster line of projectors are designed for smaller domes than the Universarium, but also use the single starball design. The Skymaster ZKP projectors are designed for the smallest domes and use a "dumbbell" design similar to the Mark II-VI projectors, where two smaller starballs for the northern and southern hemispheres are connected by a truss containing projectors for planets and other moving objects.[4]

Partial list of planetariums that have featured a Zeiss projector

Between 1923 and 2011, Zeiss manufactured a total of 631 projectors.[5] Therefore, the following table is highly incomplete.

Planetarium Zeiss Projector Model Acquisition Date End Date Remarks Ref.
Silesian Planetarium, Chorzów, Poland Mark II 1955 2018 Retired in July 2018, will be reopened after upgrade in mid 2020. Silesian Planetarium, the oldest Mark II still in use worldwide, the oldest and biggest planetarium in Poland
Tycho Brahe Planetarium, Copenhagen, Denmark Starmaster 1989 2012 The only experienced operator in Denmark retired in 2012. Jesper H.
Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois, USA Mark II/III 1930 1969 Projector was converted from Mark II to Mark III from 1959–1961 [6][7][8]
Mark VI 1969 2011 Replaced with "Digital Starball" system from Global Immersion Ltd.
Planetario Luis Enrique Erro, Mexico City, Mexico Mark IV 1964 2006 It was the first planetarium in Mexico opened to general public and it is also one of the oldest in Latin America. [9]
Planetario Simon Bolivar, Maracaibo, Venezuela Starmaster 1968 Present It was the second planetarium in Venezuela.
Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Mark II 1939 1994 Now on exhibit (but not in operation) at the Carnegie Science Center.
Bangkok Planetarium, Bangkok, Thailand Mark IV 1964 2016 Replaced by an Evans & Sutherland Digistar 5. The projector is still inside the planetarium but not in operation. [10]
Denki kagakukan, Osaka, Japan Mark Ⅱ(No.23) 1937 1989 First Planetarium in Japan
Preserved at Osaka Science Museum.
Tonichi Tenmonkan, Tokyo, Japan Mark Ⅱ(No.26) 1938 25 May 1945 Destroyed by Bombing of Tokyo
Gotoh Planetarium, Tokyo, Japan Mark IV(No.1) 1957 2001
Akashi Municipal Planetarium, Akashi, Japan Universal(UPP)23/3 1960 Present The oldest projector which is operating in Japan.
Nagoya City Science Museum, Nagoya, Japan Mark IV 1962 2010 Closed for renovation in August 2010
Mark IX 2011 Present Re-opened in March 2011 [11][12]
Fernbank Planetarium, Atlanta, Georgia, USA Mark V 1967/8? Present [13]
Hamburg Planetarium, Hamburg, Germany Mark II 1925 1957 Projector was acquired by the City of Hamburg in 1925, the planetarium was opened to the public in 1930.
Mark IV 1957 1983
Mark VI 1983 2003
Mark IX 2006 Present
Hayden Planetarium, New York, New York, USA Mark II 1935 1960 [14]
Mark IV 1960 1973
Mark VI 1973 1997
Mark IX 1999 Present
Humboldt Planetarium, Caracas, Venezuela Mark III (modified) 1950 Present This planetarium is the oldest in Latin America. [15][16]
Johannesburg Planetarium, Johannesburg, South Africa Mark III (upgraded from Mark II) 1960 Present Acquired from the city of Hamburg and upgraded to Mark III prior to installation. [17]
Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Mark Vs 1967 Present [18]
Galileo Galilei planetarium, Buenos Aires, Argentina Mark V 1967 2011 Replaced by MEGASTAR II A [19]
Morehead Planetarium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA Mark II 1949 1969 [20]
Mark VI 1969 6 May 2011
James S. McDonnell Planetarium, St. Louis, Missouri, USA Mark IX 2001 Present replaced an Evans & Sutherland Digistar [21]
Samuel Oschin Planetarium, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California, USA Mark IV 1964 2006
Mark IX 2006 Present
Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester, New York, USA Mark VI 1968 Present Originally cost $240,234 – in 1968 dollars. [22]
Planetario de Bogotá, Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia Mark VI 1969 Present [23]
Fiske Planetarium, Boulder, Colorado, USA Mark VI 1975 2012 Replaced by an Ohira Tech MEGASTAR. [24]
Planetario Universidad de Santiago, Santiago, Chile Mark VI 1972 Present [25][26]
Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium, Lisbon, Portugal UPP 23/4 1965 2004 [27]
Mark IX 2005 Present
Delafield Planetarium, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia, USA Skymaster ZKP-3 2000 Present [28]
Charles Hayden Planetarium, Boston Museum of Science, Boston, MA, USA Mark VI 1970 2010 [29]
Starmaster 2011 Present [30]
Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai, India Mark IV 1977 2003 Replaced by an Evans & Sutherland Digistar 3 [31]
Planetario Ulrico Hoepli, Milan, Italy Mark IV 1968 Present [32]
Planetario Ciudad de Rosario, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina Mark IV 1962 Present Projector was acquired by the City of Rosario in 1962, the planetarium was opened to the public in 1984 [33]
Planetarium (Belgium), Brussels, BELGIUM Mark II 1935 1966 Planetarium was closed between 1939 and 1954. Closed again in 1966. Building and projector were destroyed in 1969. A new building with a new projector was built in 1976. [34][35][36][37]
UPP 23/5 1976 present
Moscow Planetarium, Moscow, Russia Mark II 1929 1976 Details preserved at Moscow Planetarium
Mark VI 1977 1994 Preserved at Moscow Planetarium
Planetarium ceased work in 1994
Mark IX 2010 Present Projector was acquired in 2010, the planetarium was renovated and opened to the public in 2011
London Planetarium, Baker Street, London, UK Mark IV 1958 1995 Now in Science Museum collection. [38][39]
Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, California, USA Mark VIII 1999 Present As of 2016, the Mark VIII projector unit was successfully repaired, after several years being dysfunctional.
Cozmix, Brugge, Belgium ZKP 3b 2002 Present [40]
Espaço do Conhecimento do UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil ZKP 4 2010 Present [41]
Montreal Planetarium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Mark V 1966 2011 Now at exhibit at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium [42]
Planetário Professor Francisco José Gomes Ribeiro (Colégio Estadual do Paraná), Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil ZKP 1 1978 Present

See also


  1. ^ Christopher Dewdney. Acquainted with the Night: Excursions Through the World After Dark. Bloomsbury Publishing USA; 2005 [cited 14 October 2011]. ISBN 978-1-58234-599-4. p. 278–279.
  2. ^ a b Mark R. Chartrand. "A Fifty Year Anniversary of a Two Thousand Year Dream – The History of the Planetarium". Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Carl Zeiss AG. "Planetarium projector models since 1942". Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  4. ^ "Carl Zeiss STARMASTER Models ZMP and ZMP-TD – Product Specifications". meditec.zeiss.com. 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  5. ^ Prager, Lutz (8 February 2011). "In Jena Optik-Kolloquium zu Planetariumsbau". Ostthüringer Zeitung. Gera. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  6. ^ Ley, Willy (February 1965). "Forerunners of the Planetarium". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 87–98.
  7. ^ Glenn A. Walsh. "The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum". Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  8. ^ Steve Johnson (11 June 2011). "Countdown to 'wow'". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  9. ^ Planetario Luis Enrique Erro (IPN). "Sitio oficial del Planetario Luis Enrique Erro del Instituo Politecnico Nacional". Instituto Politecnico Nacional.. (in Spanish)
  10. ^ Bangkok Planetarium. "ความเป็นมา (History)". Bangkok Planetarium official website. Bangkok Planetarium. Retrieved 30 November 2008.. (in Thai)
  11. ^ "Nagoya City Science Museum | Planetarium | About the Planetarium| Planetarium Outline". Ncsm.city.nagoya.jp. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Nagoya Science Museum". Zeiss.de. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  13. ^ Fernbank Science Center Planetarium. "Official website of the Fernbank Science Center". Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  14. ^ The New York Times (11 August 1999). "Updating City's Star System; Planetarium Introducing Mark IX for Outer Space". Retrieved 7 October 2008.
  15. ^ Humboldt Planetarium. "El Planetario – Reseña Histórica". Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  16. ^ Planetario Humboldt at Spanish Wikipedia (in Spanish)
  17. ^ Johannesburg Planterium. "History of the Planetarium". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  18. ^ The Manitoba Museum. "Planetarium General Information". Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  19. ^ "Planetario de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires - Tecnología innovaciones y actualizaciones" (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  20. ^ The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Morehead History". Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  21. ^ The St. Louis Science Center. "James S. McDonnell Planetarium". Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  22. ^ Strasenburgh. "RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium – The Star Projector". Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  23. ^ "Planetario de Bogotá – Historia". planetariodebogota.gov.co (in Spanish). 2011. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  24. ^ "A Brief History of Fiske Planetarium". University of Colorado at Boulder. Archived from the original on 3 June 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  25. ^ USACH. "Infraestructura Planetario USACH". Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  26. ^ Carl Zeiss Planetarium Division. "Planetario Universidad de Santiago" (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  27. ^ "Planetário Calouste Gulbenkian" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  28. ^ The Council of Independent Colleges. "Historic Campus Architecture Project: Bradley Observatory and Delafield Planetarium". Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  29. ^ Rainy Day Science : Museum Of Science Planetarium – 31 January 2011. Rainydaymagazine.com. Retrieved on 2011-09-30.
  30. ^ Museum of Science Hosts World Premiere of Original Astronomy Show Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun at Grand Reopening of Charles Hayden Planetarium. Museum of Science. 13 February 2011
  31. ^ "Nehru Centre". Retrieved 26 March 2013..Template:Ind icon
  32. ^ "Planetario di Milano - Lo strumento planetario" (in Italian). Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  33. ^ es:Complejo Astronómico Municipal
  34. ^ "Association des planétariums de langue française". Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  35. ^ "Planetarium.be". Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  36. ^ "UPP 23/5 nl" (PDF). Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  37. ^ "UPP 23/5 fr" (PDF). Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  38. ^ "Planetarian Article".
  39. ^ "Science Museum entry".
  40. ^ "Planetarium website".
  41. ^ "Planetarium website".
  42. ^ "Montreal Planetarium Press kit" (PDF).

External links

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is a public museum dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics. It was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. It is located on the northeast tip of Northerly Island at the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois. The Adler was the first planetarium in the United States and is part of Chicago's Museum Campus, which includes the John G. Shedd Aquarium and The Field Museum. The Adler's mission is to inspire exploration and understanding of the universe.

The Adler Planetarium opened to the public on May 12, 1930. For its design, architect Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr. was awarded the gold medal of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1931. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.The Adler is home to three full size theaters, extensive space science exhibitions, and a significant collection of antique scientific instruments and print materials. In addition, the Adler boasts the Doane Observatory, one of the only research-active, public urban observatories.

Outdoor sculptures at the planetarium include Spiral Galaxy by John David Mooney, Man Enters the Cosmos by Henry Moore, and America's Courtyard by Ary Perez and Denise Milan.

Bangkok Planetarium

The Bangkok Planetarium is the oldest planetarium in Thailand and Southeast Asia. It is located on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok as part of the Science Centre for Education, which is operated by the Department of Non-Formal Education of the Ministry of Education.

Construction of the planetarium began in 1962 with a budget of twelve million baht and it opened on 18 August 1964. The planetarium dome is 20.60 metres in diameter and 13 metres high, and holds 450 seats. The planetarium uses a Mark IV Zeiss projector, which was the first installation of a large planetarium projector in Southeast Asia. Apart from the theatre itself, the building also features permanent exhibitions on astronomy, aimed at young audiences.The planetarium underwent extensive renovations in 2015, including the installation of two new Christie Boxer 4K30 projectors alongside the old Mark IV, which helped reignite interest in the previously ailing museum.

Galileo Galilei planetarium

The Galileo Galilei planetarium, commonly known as Planetario, is located in Parque Tres de Febrero in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is a facility in Los Angeles, California, sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. It commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction with a close view of the Hollywood Sign and an extensive array of space and science-related displays. Admission has been free since the observatory's opening in 1935, in accordance with the will of Griffith J. Griffith, the benefactor after whom the observatory is named.

Hudson River Museum

The Hudson River Museum, located in Trevor Park in Yonkers, New York, is the largest museum in Westchester County. The Yonkers Museum, founded in 1919 at City Hall, became the Hudson River Museum in 1948. While often seen as an art museum due to the extensive collection of works from the Hudson River school, the museum also features exhibits on the history, science and heritage of the region.

Ian Ridpath

Ian William Ridpath (born 1 May 1947, Ilford, Essex) is an English science writer and broadcaster best known as a popularizer of astronomy and a biographer of constellation history. As a UFO sceptic, he investigated and explained the Rendlesham Forest Incident of December 1980.

Mary Brown Bullock

Mary Brown Bullock was the seventh president of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA from 1995 to August 1, 2006. She is currently executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University.

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is one of the oldest and largest planetariums in the United States having welcomed more than 7 million visitors by its 60th anniversary in 2009. As a unit of the university, Morehead receives about one-third of its funding through state sources, one-third through ticket and gift sales, and one-third through gifts and grants.

First opened in 1949, the planetarium was used to train Gemini and Apollo program astronauts in celestial navigation. Until the late 1990s, it contained one of the largest working Copernican orreries in the world. The facility was donated to the university by alumnus John Motley Morehead III who invested more than $3 million in the facility.

Oswald Thomas

Oswald Thomas (born July 27, 1882 in Kronstadt [now Braşov in Transylvania, Romania]; died Feb. 13, 1963 in Vienna, Austria), was a German astronomer and a protagonist of the popularization of astronomy in Germany and Austria.


A planetarium (plural planetaria or planetariums) is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation.A dominant feature of most planetaria is the large dome-shaped projection screen onto which scenes of stars, planets, and other celestial objects can be made to appear and move realistically to simulate the complex 'motions of the heavens'. The celestial scenes can be created using a wide variety of technologies, for example precision-engineered 'star balls' that combine optical and electro-mechanical technology, slide projector, video and fulldome projector systems, and lasers. Whatever technologies are used, the objective is normally to link them together to simulate an accurate relative motion of the sky. Typical systems can be set to simulate the sky at any point in time, past or present, and often to depict the night sky as it would appear from any point of latitude on Earth.

Planetariums range in size from the 37 meter dome in St. Petersburg, Russia (called “Planetarium No 1”) to three-meter inflatable portable domes where attendees sit on the floor. The largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere is the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium at Liberty Science Center in New Jersey (27 meters in diameter). The Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, India is the largest by seating capacity (630 seats). Thereafter, the China Science and Technology Museum Planetarium in Beijing, China has the largest seating capacity (442 seats). In North America, the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has the greatest number of seats (423).

The term planetarium is sometimes used generically to describe other devices which illustrate the solar system, such as a computer simulation or an orrery. Planetarium software refers to a software application that renders a three-dimensional image of the sky onto a two-dimensional computer screen. The term planetarian is used to describe a member of the professional staff of a planetarium.

Planetarium Jena

The Zeiss-Planetarium in Jena, Germany is the oldest continuously operating planetarium in the world. It was opened on July 18, 1926. The Zeiss-Planetarium is a projection planetarium. The planets and fixed stars are projected onto the inner surface of a white cupola.

The Zeiss-Planetarium is owned and operated by the Ernst-Abbe-Stiftung.

It was engineered by German engineer Walther Bauersfeld.

Planetarium of Nantes

The Planetarium of Nantes open since the June 18th, 1981, aims to present shows to astronomy, for all audiences.

Planetarium projector

A planetarium projector is a device used to project images of celestial objects onto the dome in a planetarium.

The first modern planetarium projectors were designed and built by the Carl Zeiss Jena company in Germany between 1923 and 1925, and have since grown more complex. Smaller projectors include a set of fixed stars, Sun, Moon, and planets, and various nebulae. Larger machines also include comets and a far greater selection of stars. Additional projectors can be added to show twilight around the outside of the screen (complete with city or country scenes) as well as the Milky Way. Still others add coordinate lines and constellations, photographic slides, laser displays, and other images. The OMNIMAX movie system (now known as IMAX Dome) was originally designed to operate on planetarium screens.

Companies that make (or have made) planetarium projectors include Carl Zeiss Jena (Germany), Spitz (US), Goto and Minolta (Japan), Evans & Sutherland (US), Emerald planetariums (Israel) and Ohira Tech (Japan).

Professor Aristóteles Orsini Planetarium

The Professor Aristóteles Orsini Planetarium (Portuguese: Planetário Professor Aristóteles Orsini), also known as the Ibirapuera Planetarium (Portuguese: Planetário do Ibirapuera), is a planetarium in Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo. It opened in January 1957, and was the first planetarium in Brazil and Latin America. It is one of three planetaria in São Paulo, with the others being Carmo Planetarium and the Johannes Kepler Planetarium at Sabina Escola Parque do Conhecimento.

Sultan Iskandar Planetarium

The Sultan Iskandar Planetarium (Malay: Planetarium Sultan Iskandar) is a planetarium in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. It is also the first planetarium to be constructed in Malaysia.

Walther Bauersfeld

Walther Bauersfeld (23 January 1879 – 28 October 1959) was a German engineer.

Zeiss Major Planetarium

The Zeiss Major Planetarium (German Zeiss-Großplanetarium) is a planetarium in Berlin and one of the largest modern stellar theatres in Europe. It was opened in 1987 on the borders of the Ernst-Thälmann-Park housing estates in the Prenzlauer Berg locality of Berlin.

Planning for the area commenced with old gas works to be torn down by 1981. The 750 anniversary of Berlin gave an opportunity to the communist government to create a new style of housing estates with decorative high-rise residential buildings, a cultural centre with restaurants and a planetarium supposed to be larger than the old one in the Archenhold Observatory of Berlin. The building from architect Erhardt Gißke was opened on schedule on 9 October 1987. The dome of the main hall has a diameter of 23 metres (75 ft) and it is currently equipped with a Universarium IX planetarium projector from Carl Zeiss AG.

The building is not only used for astronomy shows but the dome hall with 292 seats allows also for music concerts and audio drama with the regular "audio theatre under a starry sky" (German: Hörspielkino unterm Sternenhimmel) running since 1995. There is also a café and a movie theatre with 160 seats. The dome hall has not only a planetarium projector but as much as 100 slide projectors, a laser show installation and sound equipment including a recording studio to create new shows. The planetarium has 90,000 visitors every year.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.