Space Trip Inside of the Solar SystemNovember 25, 2008
Still getting over this sickness junk. I’m feeling much better, but have some sort of gunk in my throat making it difficult to breathe and eat, two of my favorite pastimes.
Normally I’m off on Mondays (it’s the museum curse–a Tuesday through Saturday schedule) but I went in today to meet Nick from Spectra Physics and Mark Z. from AVI to get the core and optics on my laser replaced.
My friends think it’s hilarious when something in the planetarium breaks, as I usually end up spouting off some Star-Trek-esque technobabble. For instance, earlier this year when our star projector went south, I said to my friend Tony, “The infrared reticule sensor on the latitude axis control card blew a potentiometer, and it won’t zero out.”
Fancy words for, “It busted, bad.”
Luckily, the laser wasn’t busted, just drooping a bit on power, so Mark and Nick, two severly cool dudes, replaced the core and optics, and rebalanced the head so now I have nice pretty colors at retina-searing brightness gracing my dome once more.
Mark, who is an ol-skool laserist cat who rocked out Floyd and Zeppelin shows manually back in the day (I have it easy, I just load a couple of files and press play), was talking up Konica Minolta’s newish full-dome systems, which I didn’t know much about, so I came home and looked it up.
Peep the Super-MEDIAGLOBE, in all its minature kick-buttitude:
That thing is a full-dome projector. (It’s apparently bigger than it appears to be in this photograph.) Leave it to the Japanese to build a machine that looks like it should sprout arms and a cutesy happy face, and walk around serving drinks. It looks like you could pour dirty water in the top and get a pitcher of clean, clear H20 from a ergonomic tap neatly concealed behind a tiny trap door.
But seriously: 10,000 to 1 contrast. Ten thousand to one. That’s freaking amazing. It’s all in the lens, apparently, and if there’s one thing Konica Minolta knows how to do, it’s make lenses.
Check out K-M’s planetarium info pages for some great examples of not-so-clean and clear English translation. AVI does U.S. distribution for them, and there’s a good image of their user interface there. Snazzy. I’ll take one please.