Two NanoSeam Domes and Digistar 7 Bring Immersive Experiences to Life for Visitors Inside the World’s Largest Museum Dedicated to Astronomy
Cosm companies Evans & Sutherland (E&S) and Spitz, Inc. are key collaborators in powering a one-of-a-kind visitor experience at the newly opened 420,000-square foot Shanghai Astronomy Museum, the world’s largest dedicated to astronomy. E&S and Spitz technology and expertise are featured prominently with two NanoSeam domes supported by Digistar 7 software, the first located inside the museum’s world-class planetarium and the second operating as a science and art installation.
Through E&S and Spitz, Cosm was awarded the prestigious and highly competitive contract two years ago thanks to both companies’ unparalleled reputation for quality, experience and industry-leading technology — namely the NanoSeam dome and Digistar software – that bring cutting edge, immersive entertainment to audiences worldwide.
“I’m extremely proud of our team, and it’s due largely to their excellent work over the decades that we were awarded the contract to install two NanoSeam domes, powered by Digistar 7 inside the Shanghai Astronomy Museum,” said Kirk Johnson, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Evans & Sutherland. “We’ve been operating in China since the 1990s when E&S and Spitz first established an office in Beijing, and I believe our foothold there was also instrumental in the museum’s decision to select us for this incredible opportunity. I particularly want to commend our China-based colleagues, who managed the complexities of our installations, at a time when our U.S.-based team was unable to travel to China.”
Designed by Ennead Architects, the new facility, a branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, features three architectural forms to suggest the orbits of celestial objects – as reflected in the Oculus, the Inverted Dome, and the Sphere. The three, overlapping forms play a central role in the patron experience, harmonizing the visitor’s journey through time, the infinitesimal presence of humanity in the vast cosmos, and the power of the sun illuminating life on earth.
Inside the Museum
Once inside the museum, visitors will experience the Oculus, opening above the main entrance, as they witness an orb of sunlight move across the room’s expansive floor, indicating the time of day and season of the year. The Inverted Dome gives guests an authentic experience of day and night, marking the cadence of darkness to light, and light to darkness. The Sphere is an astronomical instrument tracking the sun, moon, and stars with a continuous skylight circumnavigating the structure to allow sunlight to permeate.
Within the museum’s planetarium, the primary NanoSeam dome screen creates the Sphere, measuring 23 meters in diameter with a 30-degree tilt and 165-degree field of view. Powered by Digistar 7, the dome showcases an unprecedented 20 Sony GTZ280 projectors with 14K+ resolution, the highest available resolution in the industry today.
The Cosm full stack technology, design, and expertise is also on display in a second, 17-meter diameter dome operating as a science and art installation within the museum. The second dome is also powered by Digistar 7, with two Sony GTZ280 projectors and a Goto Orpheus Optical Star Projector.
Expertise in China
With E&S and Spitz, Inc. leading the way, Cosm first ventured to China in 1994, bringing dome planetariums, cutting edge software and large format screens to new audiences there. Since then, the companies have worked hand-in-hand with their Chinese partners to grow the number of premiere planetariums to more than 70. Today there are 42 Digistar systems and 28 NanoSeam domes in China.