The Henry B. duPont III Planetarium

Planetarium shows suitable for very young children and for those over eight years old run daily and are approximately 30 – 50 minutes long. Cost is included in general admission.

The planetarium features a 10.1m (33.4 ft) domed ceiling, 121 seats and a stereo surround sound system. It houses both a traditional Spitz 512 Planetarium Projector with an array of slide and video projectors and a Warped Media digital full-dome projection system. Each of these systems produces unique, informative and entertaining astronomical experiences.

The planetarium was recently upgraded thanks to generous grants from The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation and The Birkmaier Fund.

Spitz System 512 Planetarium Projecto
The night sky is brought to life inside the planetarium’s 33.4-foot dome by the Spitz System 512 Projector.
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Located at the center of the theater, the projector can accurately and precisely reproduce the night sky as seen from anywhere on Earth thousands of years in the past OR future. Because daily and annual motions of the Earth as well as latitude changes can be exactly replicated by the projector, the Planetarium is able to serve as a "time machine", capable of taking the most casual observer on a celestial adventure into the past or the future, as well as providing a view of the sky from anywhere in the world.

When the room lights are darkened, the dome is transformed into an amazingly realistic simulation of the starry sky. The Spitz 512 is capable of projecting the sun, moon, the 5 naked-eye planets, and over 2,500 stars onto the domed ceiling with accuracy in brightness and color. The result is a simulation of the nighttime sky that can be seen day or night — cloudy or clear.

Warped Media Full Dome Projection System
The full dome Warped Media system from Ash Enterprises operates with a high resolution, high output LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) video projector. Its warping software takes images and warps them so that they will project off a silver-coated hemispherical mirror onto the 33.4 ft. dome. The size and shape of the hemispherical images that are created completely envelopes viewers’ senses for an immersive theater experience.

Why Is It Called A Planetarium?
Although star maps have been around for thousands of years, recreating the motion of the planets is much harder because unlike the stars, the planets move relative to each other. Moreover, each combination of planetary positions is unique and will never be exactly repeated.

It wasn't until the 1920s that it was possible to recreate the position of the planets for any given date. Because it was so hard to display the positions of the planets accurately, the first machine able to do so was called a 'planetarium'.

Over time, the term planetarium has come to include the entire domed theatre and all of the projection systems within it, including the star projectors that were the original 'planetariums'.