Planetarium Upgrades Enhance User Experience


The Del and Norma Robison Planetarium recently completed hardware and software upgrades that significantly expanded the capabilities of the facility.

Previously the planetarium could only simulate travel to a portion of the Milky Way galaxy. The new software provides the ability to travel the entire observable universe. It also utilizes satellite imagery of the planets in the solar system, allowing terrain views and travel along the planets’ surfaces.

Beyond new travel capabilities, during star tours and public shows, the new software allows for content creation in the form of liner video editing and scripting. Staff will be trained on how to build custom content for the planetarium, which will keep the planetarium up to date with current events while avoiding the costs associated with purchasing new content.

The planetarium now has several STEAM plugins in the fields of art, chemistry, physics, earth science and biology, meaning it can be utilized by classes and departments across campus to enrich the learning experience at Truman.

In terms of hardware, the upgrade increased the number of projectors from one to two. Previous attendees will remember a center-mounted projector. That projector along with an additional projector have been moved to the cove at the front and back of the planetarium, essentially doubling the screen resolution.

The vendor for the upgrade was Evans and Sutherland, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The upgrade took the planetarium from a Digistar 4 system, software released more than a decade ago, to a Digistar 6 system. Work on the project began in the fall 2018 semester under the direction of the planetarium upgrade committee, which includes Jared Young, Kevin Minch, Amy Nunan, Julie Hanes, Jim McNabb, Diane Richmond and Donna Liss.

The planetarium hosts regularly scheduled programing every Saturday, with shows taking place at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased online or at the door. Weekly Mythology Monday shows are free. For more information about the planetarium, including a schedule of all events, is available at