• Inside the Zeiss-Großplanetarium Berlin; Brain City Berlin

    Travel to space for free

100 years of the Planetarium: On 21 October, the Zeiss-Großplanetarium (Zeiss Major Planetarium) in Berlin celebrates the star show anniversary with a colourful program of astronomy, science and culture. Admission is free.

How are black holes formed? What does the wonder of the Northern Lights look like when photographed from inside the International Space Station? And why is Mars also called the “red planet”? Next Saturday, visitors can fly past stars and planets out into space free of charge and immerse themselves in cosmic worlds. This is because the Zeiss Planetarium in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg is celebrating a very special anniversary, to which the Stiftung Planetarium Berlin (Berlin Planetarium Foundation) is extending an invitation.

On 21 October 1923, the world’s first projection planetarium was presented to the public at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. The cantilevered dome, which was able to display the day and night sky with the help of a special projector, made 4,500 stars shine. The projector and dome structure were developed by the Carl Zeiss Jena company. After a few adjustments to the projector, the Munich Planetarium went into regular operation on 7 May 1925 and from then on brought the astonished public close to heaven on earth.

Today, the projection planetarium, with its impressively natural depiction of the nighttime firmament, is considered one of the great engineering masterpieces of the 20th century. The principle is still the same as it was 100 years ago. However, while the classic projection planetarium displays the phenomena starting from the solar system, additional digital video projectors and lasers now create a 360-degree experience (fulldome). Visitors can travel into the cosmos regardless of time and place.

There are now around 5,000 major and minor planetariums worldwide. The Zeiss-Großplanetarium (Berlin Zeiss Major Planetarium) is the most visited and, with 307 seats, it is the largest in the German-speaking world. Due to its varied program and technical equipment, it is also considered Europe’s most modern science theatre. The centrepiece is the star projector that can be retracted into the floor and has been specially modified for the building. It can project 9,505 stars and the Milky Way onto the 23 metre high dome of the Zeiss Major Planetarium; thereby enabling scientific findings about the universe to be visualised and classified. Eight planet projectors show the movement of the sun, moon and planets in the firmament. A multi-channel digital projection system with a total of ten video projectors complements the star projector and creates a dome-filling 360-degree video image. Constellations and nebulae are projected precisely onto the starry sky. The “Spatial Sound System” with 49 speakers and four subwoofers also makes the journey into space a sound experience.

On Saturday, 21 October 2023, the Zeiss -Großplanetarium will show its most popular programs from astronomy and science to mark the planetarium’s 100th anniversary. Admission is free.

Tickets will be issued on the day of the event at the box office in the foyer. It is advisable to be there early, as capacity is limited. Until 2025, there will be further highlights and special events to mark the anniversary. (vdo)

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