Sony Planetarium

While in Tokyo, on my way back home, I stumbled across a Sony science centre (top floor of the Sony Style centre in Odaiba) that contained a digital planetarium. Having never been in a digital planetarium I jumped at the chance to see what it was like.

It turned out to be a fairly small dome - seating 28 - with a ball containing what looked like 8-10 projector lenses in it. The image it produced was really excellent with good contrast that made the Milky Way really stand out. The only trouble for me was that as I don't speak Japanese (apart from the very basics) I couldn't understand the commentary. Having said that, there wasn't much commentary anyway, so I guess it was supposed to be more of a visual experience than a learning one. Still, for people in the middle of a huge city like Tokyo, it may be the only chance they get to see any stars.

The dome showed a view of the night sky from Japan before heading south towards the south pole. This let us see the large and small Magellanic clouds and the centre of the Milky Way. We were then treated to a pretty good full-dome movie of the southern lights. After that we travelled back up to Japan and had an impressive meteor shower before a rather sudden dawn and the end of the show (about 20 minutes I think).

The planetarium was obviously a showcase for Sony digital projector technology and did have some good animations. I couldn't quite tell, but I think the stars and animations were somehow projected with different resolutions, as the stars didn't look pixelated at all. It was certainly worth the admission fee, especially as you get entry to the rest of the science centre that Sony have hidden away at the top of their store.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 08th Apr 2006 (00:02 JST) | Permalink
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