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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/36013
- Astronomy visualisation in reflection
- Fluke, Christopher J.; Bourke, Paul D.
- The earliest telescopes were refractors made with combinations of glass lenses. They suffered from chromatic aberration and other optical defects, were difficult to scale to larger size (due to weight and cost limitations), and while providing better image quality and higher contrast (as there is less loss from a light path based on transmission that does not have to pass barriers such as secondary mirrors), they have mostly been supplanted by reflecting telescopes. This is because reflectors are generally cheaper, easier to construct and have fewer optical limitations---e.g. although a highly polished surface is required to maximise reflectivity, there is no chromatic aberration. With the aim of not pushing an analogy too far, jump forward nearly 400 years from the time of Lipperhey and Galileo to the new era of single projector digital planetariums. The current generation of lens-based fisheye solutions suffers some of the same problems of the early telescopes: chromatic aberration near the edge of the field, highcost, and possibly scalability. Like Newton's revolution in telescope design, we have recently used light reflected from a spherical mirror to illuminate the dome, providing an alternative that may further change the way audiences experience planetariums in the future. Working together, both fisheye and mirror based systems have a common advantage---as single projector solutions they are providing greater opportunities for smaller fixed and portable planetariums to share in the amazing visual and educational experience that has mainly been the domain of larger facilities: Fulldome. In this invited review on the future of the digital planetarium, we reflect on our experiences in astronomy visualisation from the fourfold position of astrophysics researchers, public educators, content creators and technology developers. While this paper may demonstrate a certain personal bias, we would hope that some of our ideas will be of interest to planetariums of all sizes, as more facilities are challenged by the question: when to go digital? [Introduction]
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies. Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
- Planetarian, Vol. 34, no. 4 (Dec 2005), p. 10-15
- Publication year
- 3D; Cosmological simulations; Data analysis methods; Digital domes; Digital projection systems; Image processing techniques; Observatories; Planetariums; S2PLOT; Stereoscopic display; Three-dimensional visualisations; Visual representations
- International Planetarium Society
- Publisher URL
- Additional information
- The authors would like to thank Charles Treleaven (Cosmodome Australasia) and Glen Moore (Wollongong Science Centre and Planetarium) for access to their domes (inflatable and fixed) in order to develop and test MirrorDome; David Barnes for general discussions and ideas about potential datasets to study; and Ed Lantz for inviting them to share their thoughts with the planetarium community. The MirrorDome research was funded through the Swinburne Researcher Development Grant scheme.