The new digital planetarium of the Regional Museum of Natural History in Plovdiv was built in 2015 by the American company Evans & Sutherland, a world leader in the field, together with their European partners, Skypoint Planetarium. It features the immersive planetarium system Digistar 5, and is the first of its kind in Bulgaria. In 2017, the planetarium was upgraded to active 3D capability, and can show fully immersive 3D shows, achieving yet another ‘first’ for Bulgaria.
The planetarium boasts a dome 8 meters in diameter, and is equipped with a special laser projector with a “fisheye” lens, which allows projection on the entire dome simultaneously. The planetarium accommodates 50 seats, as well as wheelchair spaces for people with motor disabilities. The planetarium software brings the visitors on an immersive journey to various locations in the Cosmos, objects and phenomena that occur in the Universe. This is achieved in real time thanks to the Digistar 5 unique live 3D rendering system.
Currently, the program includes the following full-dome planetarium shows – “Violent Universe”, ”From Earth to the Universe”, “IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System”, ”DARK”, ”Two Small Pieces of Glass” as well as live presentations on various topics. If you are interested, the team of Planetarium can prepare individual presentations aimed at specific age groups. Each show can be conducted in English with prior group reservation.
Before each full-dome show there is a live lecture on a different theme lasting about 10-15 minutes. Most often the topic of the lecture is the night sky over Plovdiv – the brightest and best visible constellations according to the season.
3D Programs Description
‘Sea Monsters’ is the title of the new 3D show for a true prehistoric adventure. A prehistoric journey to the bottom of the ocean, which represents the impressive marine creatures of the past.
Duration 36 min. Recommended lower age limit: from 7 years old.
2D Programs Description
“The Sun, Our Living Star” – The Sun has shined on our world for four and a half billion years. The light that warms our skin today has been felt by every person who has ever lived. It is our nearest star and our planet’s powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life. A spectacular show, which shows the many faces of the Sun, and its story. The show reveals the impact our star has on every aspect of our lives here on Earth. Duration: 25 minutes. Recommended lower age limit: 7 years old.
‘From Earth to the Universe’ – The night sky, beautiful and mysterious, has been a source of stories and myths since humans exist on Earth. Only recently we have begun to discover and understand our place in the cosmos. “From Earth to the Universe” is a colourful and inspiring journey to the farthest reaches of the Universe. On the way from Earth to Space, you will learn many interesting facts about the history of astronomy, the invention of the telescope, as well as the latest giant telescopes that allow us to peer deeper into the Universe. As a spectator, you will explore the solar system and the violent eruptions of the Sun. If you have ever wondered how stars are born and die, this show is for you! Duration: 30 minutes. Recommended lower age limit: 7 years old.
‘Violent Universe’ – Comets, asteroids, meteorites rushing through space. Witness the raw power of the Cosmos in this exciting show, which gives us a new look at the Universe! Duration: 30 minutes. Recommended lower age limit: 10-12 years old.
‘DARK’ – An ultra-high-definition 4k fulldome movie that explains and explores the nature of Dark Matter, the missing 80% of the mass of the Universe. The search for Dark Matter is the most pressing astrophysical problem of our time – the solution to which will help us understand why the Universe is as it is, where it came from, and how it has evolved over billions of years – the unimaginable depths of deep time, of which a human life is but a flickering instant. Duration: 20 minutes. Recommended lower age limit: from 12 years old.
‘Two Small Pieces of Glass’ traces the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass – using two small pieces of glass – to the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. Duration: 22 minutes. Recommended lower age limit: from 10 years old.
‘IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System‘ – NASA launched its space explorer Interstellar Boundary Explorer or IBEX in 2008. Its main objective is to study the most distant reaches of the solar system. IBEX’s observations reach areas with extremely low temperatures and extreme radiation conditions, where interstellar space starts. The probe aims to reach “the edge” of the solar system, a place where the sun’s rays hardly reach and the magnetic shield protecting planets from the ubiquitous cosmic radiation of interplanetary space is absolutely minimal. How does IBEX work? How does it communicate with Earth? Join us to witness this fascinating full-dome show about the IBEX probe and its bold mission to explore the boundaries of the solar system. Duration: 30 minutes. Recommended lower age limit: 7 years old.