What is it?
How does it work?
All of the heavenly bodies that seem to glow from outer space are simulated by the Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3¿a German-made star projector. Operated by a small control panel, a portable PC keyboard and accompanying software, it incorporates a total of 39 projecting lenses of different sizes. Working individually or in groups, they beam thousands of light points onto the planetarium¿s curved ceiling screen. A member of the physics department - usually planetarium director Dr. Erin Bonning, or director emeritus, Dr. Richard Williamon - orchestrates the display of celestial objects to explain specific concepts or to develop a broader narrative theme.
What can the Skymaster do?
Our Planetarium's claim to fame
There are over 500 Zeiss planetariums world wide. The Emory Skymaster, installed on July 24, 2002, is the only one built on its own rising platform; when not in use, it descends below floor level to be hidden out of sight. Then the planetarium becomes a normal classroom, perfect for lectures and colloquia.
Also, our planetarium has a direct video feed from the 24-inch telescope located several stories above in the building's rooftop observatory. This means that live astronomical events can be projected and viewed by a large audience in a classroom setting in the planetarium. The image that the audience sees is exactly the same as the image seen through the eyepiece of the telescope at exactly the same time.
The Skymaster¿s compact size is especially well-suited to university planetariums; it is the smallest of several types of star projectors manufactured by the German-based Carl Zeiss Company--a leading producer of optical equipment that has been in business since 1846. The firm created the world's first planetarium in Munich in 1923.
Planetarium resources for Emory University
The planetarium's primary mission is to enhance the teaching of undergraduate astronomy in the department of physics. It also serves as a resource for other departments and areas of the University interested in cross-disciplinary applications. faculty and staff members with ideas for collaborative projects are invited to contact the planetarium director, Dr. Erin Bonning or the Chairman of the physics department, Eric Weeks.
Events and programs for the Emory Community
A number of special events and seasonal programs are planned throughout the year for the enjoyment of the Emory community and local groups. Topics are most often astronomical, but the planetarium¿s cozy ambience and intimate scale make it a setting for live music and the performing arts on campus whenever possible.