The Center for Earth and Space Science Education is updating its planetarium from the current Digistar 5 system to a new Digitarium Aethos system. TJC’s planetarium will be the first in the state to install this system and the second in the country, according to press release from the department. The only other Digitarium Aethos system in the United States was installed in Eugene, Oregon, last year.
The name of the space center is also set to change to the TJC Earth and Space Science Center featuring Hudnall Planetarium starting on Oct. 5.
The center will be closed from Monday, Sept. 30, to Friday, Oct. 5.
This will be TJC’s third time to renovate the planetarium since its launch in 1963, according to Beau Hartweg, a director at the Center for Earth and Space Science Education. He said, in 2010, the system updated from the original optical-mechanical system, which used light and gears for the projection of stars, to the current digital projection system, which uses computers and digital projectors to perform the planetarium functions.
Hartweg added they now plan to update those computers and digital projectors to the Digitarium Aethos system. This type of system uses “4k laser projection technology to create vibrant, immersive experiences in the 40-foot Hudnall Planetarium,” as stated in the department’s press release.
Hartweg explains the center will premiere the new planetarium on Oct. 5 for its first “star party Saturday.” This event features free showings and telescopes in the planetarium from 8 to 10 p.m. and is hosted on the first Saturday of every month.