We have three star projectors in our planetarium (shown below), a back-up instrument, a main projector and the future replacement system which is currently in storage.
Spitz A1: A lovingly-restored and updated Spitz projector made in Philadelphia in the 1950s. The projector was discovered by Ray Worthy (a member of CaDAS, active member of the BAP (British Association of Planetaria), and maker of our inflatable star dome ) in the Europlanetarium in Genk (Belgium) and was donated to us by them for use in public performances. The Spitz projector has been dragged crashing and bumping into the 21st century with new high power halogen bulbs from Welch Allyn, a new wiring harness and a completely new control panel built into our "pop-up" DAIS structure. The Spitz was used for the first 100 or so shows inside the newly built planetarium, however it is now used soley as a backup instrument to our main Goto projector.
Goto Eros E5: Originally designed for a 5m dome, it shines beautifully onto our 7-metre version. The availability of the projector was again drawn to our attention by Ray Worthy who found out about it from Professor John Brown (Glasgow University) at a meeting of BAP. The Goto projector is a much more recent projector (1970s) and was donated to us (for teaching purposes) by the astronomical sciences group within the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow. This projector has also been improved by the use of Welch Allyn halogen bulbs and seperate power supplies, in a similar way to the Spitz A1.
Spitz A3P: A top of the range Spitz projector from the 1960s, donated to us by South Tyneside Marine College. Although this is 1960s technology it is one of the very best optomechanical star projectors and will be used in our next stage of facility development, it should provide even more realistic views of the night-time sky when it is eventually installed. For the time being it is in storage awaiting the realisation of future expansion plans.
Above are some images of the artificial sky projected onto our 7m dome by the Goto projector, featuring constellation projections or Ursa Major, Sagittarius and Orion.