Renaissance Center’s CyberSphere entering a new dimension for Tennessee planetariums
Release Date: 3/27/2007. Expired: 5/26/2007
The CyberSphere Digital Theater at The Renaissance Center is boldly going where no planetarium in the state of Tennessee has ever gone before. The four-story, domed planetarium has installed the latest, state-of-the-art planetarium projection system and will begin taking viewers on magical journeys through space and time in April.
The installation of the Digistar 3 projection system is the first major improvement project in the history of the $6 million planetarium that opened with The Renaissance Center in Dickson in 1999. The CyberSphere is one of the largest planetariums in North America and will be the first in Tennessee to be equipped with Digistar 3.
Manufactured by Evans and Sutherland of Utah, Digistar 3 is a digital cinema revolution for planetariums.
The new system can display 3D starfields, planets, comets and a whole host of astronomical objects in real time. It also is a real time 3D graphics system that can display interactive three-dimensional, immersive scenes. Digistar 3 also is a high definition all-dome video system that can play large format movies that fill the entire hemisphere of the dome.
“Digistar 3 is a completely new experience that can put you right in the middle of the action,” said Doug Jackson, executive director and president of The Renaissance Center. “In addition to projecting stars and constellations on the dome, then moving through them in three dimensions, the CyberSphere will now be able to project video over the whole dome and take you places you never dreamed possible. From the outer reaches of space to inside the ancient Pharaohs’ tombs, from inside a hurricane to inside the human body, the CyberSphere will now be able to place you inside by immersing you in full-dome video. It’s the latest revolution in planetarium technology and nobody else in Tennessee can offer it.”
Of course, the CyberSphere will continue to be on the cutting edge of technology with its Omniscan laser projector, capable of producing up to one trillion colors and shades in full-dome lasers, and its 14,000-watt digital Dolby 5.1 SurroundSound system.
The CyberSphere is available for field trips for planetarium and laser music shows and also presents public shows on Saturdays.
“With Digistar 3, we’ll have a whole new list of exciting shows that have never been seen at The Renaissance Center and we’ll continue to regularly receive new shows from Evans and Sutherland,” Jackson said.
The new shows incorporate the three-dimensional starfields with full-dome video using the latest images from NASA space probes and the Hubble Space Telescope. The shows range from an exploration of how the ancient Egyptians used the stars to what lifeforms on Earth might be like in 200 million years. Shows take viewers on a magical journey to fight a virus inside a human body to the surface of the Sun.
The new Digistar 3 programs will be available for field trips beginning March 26 and will debut for public programs beginning Saturday, April 7, with shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The first Saturday show will be Stars of the Pharaohs, in which viewers travel to ancient Egypt to see how science was used to tell time, make a workable calendar and align huge buildings. You’ll learn about the connection the ancient Egyptians felt with the stars and various astronomical phenomena. And you’ll see some of the most spectacular temples and tombs of the ancient world recreated in their original splendor. The show is narrated by actor John Rhys-Davies, from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Indiana Jones movies, including the fourth installment coming in 2008.
Tickets for Saturday planetarium shows are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children under 13.
The CyberSphere also will present laser music shows at 3 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, with tickets at $6 for all seats.
To learn more about the CyberSphere Digital Theater or to check out show schedules, visit www.rcenter.org or call (615) 740-5600.
The CyberSphere is just one of hundreds of educational and entertainment opportunities available at The Renaissance Center. The four-story, 60-foot sphere at the front of the center at 855 Highway 46 South is a point of curiosity and excitement for thousands of visitors each year.