Home Renovation begins for new immersive digital dome experience at the Science Museum of Virginia

Renovation begins for new immersive digital dome experience at the Science Museum of Virginia


Renovation began this week at the Science Museum of Virginia to install a new digital dome projection system. The project brings a new NanoSeam™ screen and five digital projectors, which combined, will deliver astronomy and giant screen movies like never before.

science museum“The Museum will open the full expanse of the cosmos to our guests — inviting everyone to explore the universe with us in a truly spectacular fashion,” said Richard Conti, CEO/Chief Wonder Officer, Science Museum of Virginia.

The Digistar 5 fulldome 3D system will include five 25,000 lumen DLP projectors at 4K resolution running at 120 Hz. The combined resolution of these projectors will produce over 29 million pixels on The Dome — almost three times the resolution of a 4K fulldome theater and over 14 times the resolution of HDTV. This system will offer a brightness of 4 fL, currently the highest brightness ever projected in a giant screen digital fulldome theater.

In digital cinema parlance, one “K” refers to a 1024 x 1024 pixel flat screen (each K is rounded to the nearest thousand). Translating that to dome screen display with a multi-projector system, about 25% of pixels are lost from the corners, and additional pixels are lost in edge-blending. In the case of the Museum’s new Digistar 5 system, each of five 4096 x 2160 pixel projectors will produce more than 8 million “raw” pixels, of which nearly 6 million “unique” pixels will be visible on the dome screen. Combined, the unique pixel output of the Digistar 5 is therefore more than 29 million pixels. In comparison, the typical 4K fulldome system has a unique pixel output of about 11 million pixels and the typical HDTV has a resolution of just over 2 million pixels.

“This is an historic occasion for Evans &Sutherland, as it was the Science Museum of Virginia that purchased the very first Digistar system from E&S in 1983 (and later upgraded the system to Digistar II),” said Kirk Johnson, Vice President and General Manager, E&S. “Our long-time customer, the Science Museum of Virginia, will give visitors a state-of-the-art cinematic experience with the new E&S Digistar 5 system upgrade,” added Johnson. “In resolution, brightness and 3D quality, Digistar 5 represents a technical peak for digital dome theaters and planetariums that will become the gold standard others want to emulate.”

Prepare for new experiences on Virginia’s largest screen when The Dome opens this March. For renovation updates, please visitwww.smv.org.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.