For 39 years, the School District of Waukesha’s Charles Horwitz Planetarium has been using slides for its basic form of media projection. This fall, at Retzer Nature Center’s Apple Harvest Festival, the planetarium will celebrate the beginning of its 40 year with the premier of a completely new digital sound and video technology.
This entire $330,000 project was made possible by the generous donations of the Friends of Retzer Nature Center, the School District of Waukesha and the supportive public and private fund-raising activities promoted by the “Friends of the Charles Horwitz Planetarium.”
The planetarium’s new equipment called Digistar-6, will be combined with a new 7.1 surround sound system to transform the planetarium dome into an incredible immersive experience for visitors. Digistar-6 consists of a high-powered “host” computer and four, high-resolution “graphic processing” computers. The 4,000 pixel presentation is made possible by sending the rendered graphic images through two new laser-phosphor video projectors.
Without leaving their seats, audiences can now trek through a rain forest, climb the heights of Mt. Everest, explore the depths of the world’s oceans or experience the weightlessness of space. Beginning in September, a new library of school and public programs will be available. For a complete list of programs, please see Waukesha County’s Environmental Guide, or visit the Charles Horwitz Planetarium website: www.waukesha.k12.wi.us/planet.