Science Popularisation Hub for Education, Research and Entertainment

Evans & Sutherland (E&S) is pleased to present a premier Digistar 6 installation, the UNIsphere at Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic. The UNIsphere is an ultra-high-definition system with the smallest pixel size and highest system brightness of any planetarium in Europe. It is also equipped with 120Hz refresh rate and 3D capabilities. The grand opening of the planetarium will be the last week of November 2019.

Building a digital fulldome planetarium is part of a large university-wide project that aims to promote innovation within degree programs and even create entirely new programs. The installation of the dome, funded by the European Union, started in June 2018 and was completed at the end of September 2019,” explains Tomáš Gráf, Director of the UNIsphere Planetarium. “UNIsphere is the first, truly academic, institution of its kind in the Czech Republic. The new digital dome will serve all university students, but especially students of physical and multimedia study programs. We want to focus on fulldome productions made entirely by students, as well as collaborating with renowned producers like Evans & Sutherland.”

Evans & Sutherland designed the projection system with eight WQXGA DLP laser phosphor projectors which combined has the highest definition ever achieved in a Digistar 6 Planetarium. The pixel size is a mere 2.4 millimetres (0.094 inch). The pixels are so small and so densely packed that it is difficult to see them, even up close. The eight, 9,000 lumens projectors, combined to a system brightness of 72,000 lumens which has excellent performance with 3D (120hz) glasses. Fulldome videos are stunning and the night sky is spectacular thanks to the high contrast ratio.

The project has been managed by Skypoint Planetariums, Evans & Sutherland’s European Representative, along with Future Technology, a local Czech partner.

Marco Cosmacini, CEO of Skypoint Planetariums, who led the project said, “Our team worked closely with Tomáš Gráf to understand his unique needs and we supported him every step of the way. As we designed this extremely high definition system, with such a small pixel size, we worked with Spitz engineers to provide a special perforation pattern to avoid a moiré effect on the dome.”

Christophe Bertier, the E&S European Sales Manager said, “We enjoy working with universities and like the idea that students will learn and improve their skills and knowledge in computer science, graphics, multimedia, science education, game design and the arts. Digistar inspires students and, in return, our engineering team is inspired by the creativity and innovation of students. We are looking forward to UNIsphere’s contributions to the Digistar Cloud.”

System Specification

The UNISphere dome is an 8-meter Spitz NanoSeam® dome with a custom perforation pattern, 170 degrees of elevation and 0.38 screen gain. The screen is suspended, in the old building of the Opava Silesian University, with a seating capacity of 51.

The Digistar 6 projection system with eight WQXGA DLP Laser Phosphor projectors provides a 5K full dome resolution, reaching 13.8 fL brightness (47,4 cd/m2) with only a 2.4mm pixel size.

The 5.1 audio system, from Skypoint Planetariums, delivers more than 4,500W with Bose speakers and JBL subwoofers. The audio system includes a 3-language ALS system.

The cove lighting is based on Skylux from Skypoint Planetariums, and uses 64 bits, RGBW fixture every 30cm. The total amount of light is 25,000 lumens and is easily controlled and fully integrated into the Digistar 6 UI.