News › ZEISS · Anniversary »100 Years of Planetariums«
SPECIAL EXHIBITION OPEN AT THE GERMAN MUSEUM
On the occasion of the »100 Years of Planetariums« anniversary, the Deutsches Museum in Munich is presenting the fascinating history of planetariums in a special exhibition of the same name. The exhibition includes several historic projectors, including Model I, which ZEISS presented to the Deutsches Museum on October 21, 1923. This date is now considered the birth of the modern planetarium.
The special exhibition, which ZEISS supported technically and logistically, was officially opened yesterday evening following the meeting of the Board of Trustees by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang M. Heckl, Director General of the Deutsches Museum, Dr. Karl Lamprecht, CEO of the ZEISS Group, and a ceremonial lecture »For what is inside is outside« by Prof. Dr. Thomas W. Kraupe, former President of the International Planetarium Society. The exhibition will run between May 5, 2023, and Jan. 28, 2024, and will feature not only the historic projectors but also a mobile dome in which current planetarium shows can be viewed.
IDEA OF ROTATING STAR SPHERE
In 1913, Oskar von Miller, the founder of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, had the idea for an apparatus that would make the movements of the sun, moon and planets visible at the same time as those of the stars and asked ZEISS about manufacturing a »rotating star sphere,« explains Dr. Christian Sicka, Curator of Astronomy at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
»We know that there was a meeting in Jena on Feb. 24, 1914, attended by representatives of the company and the Deutsches Museum. They discussed the complicated mechanics and Dr. Walther Bauersfeld of ZEISS came up with the idea of projecting the sun, moon and planets. His colleague Professor Rudolf Straubel remarked that the stars should then be projected as well, after all,« Sicka continued. »So the projection planetarium was a kind of spontaneous idea during a brainstorming session.«
After the First World War interrupted this development, Bauersfeld presented a design for a planetarium based on optical-mechanical light projection in March 1919. He and his team then worked out the details of the design. »On October 21, 1923, the time had come, and the artificial sky was illuminated for the first time,« Sicka explains. Expectations were far exceeded at the time, he says, so that after completion the device was permanently mounted in 1925 and opened to the public as the world’s first planetarium on May 7, 1925, with the opening of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. The first projector from ZEISS illuminated 4500 stars in the dome. With this and its successors Model IV, Model 1015 and the ZEISS SKYMASTER ZKP 4, the planetarium in the Deutsches Museum had more than 8.5 million visitors – most recently around 80 000 per year. Currently, the planetarium at the Deutsches Museum is being renovated. The modernization of the building is scheduled to be completed in 2028, the 125th anniversary of the museum’s founding.
JOURNEYS INTO SPACE
Interested visitors to the special exhibition can see that star projectors have changed since 1923. »At the same time, planetariums today offer much more than just a view of the stars,« says Dr. Karl Lamprecht, CEO of ZEISS. »They are places where, thanks in part to our innovative planetarium technology, the universe can be experienced. Children and adults can travel virtually through the entire universe. Planetariums thus broaden horizons and arouse enthusiasm for science and technology. In doing so, they unite science, art, culture and education in a unique way.«
The combination of the classic optical-mechanical star projector and digital video projectors is already standard in the most modern planetariums in the world. The ZEISS VELVET LED projector, developed and manufactured by ZEISS, is the only one in the world that has been created for astronomical displays in planetariums and combines maximum sharpness, strong colors and the highest contrast in the world. The digital projector provides an absolutely black image background so that no gray background light illuminates the night sky.
Today, there are around 3000 planetarium installations in almost every country in the world, 700 of which have been equipped with ZEISS technology. The name ZEISS and planetariums are closely linked. Today, as a modern high-tech dome, the star theater offers fascinating full-dome shows and is still a crowd puller after 100 years. It is estimated that more than one billion people have visited a planetarium. This is another reason why the anniversary is something very special for the company.
In addition to the special exhibition, ZEISS is also involved in organizing the opening event, with a ZEISS Colloquium in November 2023. You can find all ZEISS activities for the anniversary at www.zeiss.de/planetarium100.
ANNIVERSARY WITH MANY ACTIVITIES
The International Planetarium Society (IPS) and the Gesellschaft Deutschsprachiger Planetarien e. V. (GDP), with the support of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, will celebrate the anniversary together with planetariums around the world between October 21, 2023 and May 7, 2025. Numerous events and activities, such as two new planetarium shows and a book project, are planned for the two anniversary years. The official opening ceremony will take place on October 21, 2023, at the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Zeiss Planetarium in Jena. The patron for the anniversary is German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. More information on the anniversary can be found on the official anniversary website https://planetarium100.org/de.