Mueller Planetarium enters new era with fulldome digital shows

Released on 05/23/2007, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Friday, Jun. 1, 2007, through Aug. 26, 2007

WHERE: Mueller Planetarium, University of Nebraska State Museum (Morrill Hall), 14th and U Streets

Lincoln, Neb., May 23rd, 2007 —

"It's the biggest advance -- or change -- in the Planetarium's capabilities since the theater opened 49 years ago." So said Mueller Planetarium coordinator Jack Dunn about the planetarium's new projection system in the digital fulldome format.

Starting June 1, audiences will experience immersive high-tech adventures in Mueller Planetarium. Dunn said the closest other fulldome digital theaters with such features are in Denver, Chicago and Wichita.

Visitors can fall through a black hole, witness the beginnings of the universe, fly through Saturn's rings and much more. Dunn said it's very difficult to describe the experience in words: "You really have to see it to understand how powerful a medium fulldome is." The purchase of the fulldome equipment was made possible by a gift through the Friends of the University of Nebraska State Museum. The actual projection design, known as "Sphemir," was invented by Paul Bourke at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Dunn is Bourke's U.S. collaborator to spread information about the spherical mirror design.

The first two fulldome features are "Origins of Life," produced by Mirage 3d of the Netherlands and "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket," produced at Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City. "Origins" takes audiences on a journey through Earth's history and the development of life on the planet from simple organisms to more complex creatures. Scenes of the forming Earth and 30-foot whales floating overhead immerse the audience in the natural history of our planet.

"Secret of the Cardboard Rocket" is a fun family and kid friendly show about two children who take off in an imaginary cardboard rocket to explore the solar system. Audiences will fly through the rings of Saturn, the asteroid belt and more.

Admission to the planetarium includes admission to the NU State Museum. Tickets are sold at the museum front desk the day of the show. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for all elementary, secondary and college students and UNL faculty and staff. Mueller Planetarium is in the NU State Museum (Morrill Hall), 14th and U streets on the UNL City Campus.

Planetarium show schedule (June 1-Aug. 26; subject to change):

* Tuesdays through Fridays -- 2 p.m., "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket"
* Tuesdays and Thursdays -- 3 p.m., "Origins of Life"
* Saturdays -- 1 p.m., "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket"; 2 and 3 p.m., "Origins of Life"
* Sundays -- 2 and 3 p.m., "Origins of Life"

For further information, contact Dunn at (402) 472-2641 or by e-mail, or visit the planetarium's Web site, Background on fulldome and the Mueller system is available at

CONTACT: Jack Dunn, Coordinator, Mueller Planetarium, (402) 472-2641 (cell, media only, 402-730-5628)