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Tellus Science Museum to debut new HD planetarium projector

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ATLANTA -- A clearer view into our Milky Way Galaxy will debut inside the Tellus Science Museum's planetarium on Friday with the unveiling of a new high definition projector aimed at showing the stars and planets with greater detail.

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Centered inside the planetarium's forty-foot wide dome, the new Media Globe III projector will officially debut on February 28 as the museum presents the premiere of the HD movie We are Aliens.

"It's our latest upgrade to our digital planetarium," Tellus' chief astronomer David Dundee said on Wednesday. "It increases our resolution by over 200 percent and the contrast ratio is up by over 100 percent so we have a very beautiful starry sky."

The new Konica Minolta-built projector will present a true view of our galaxy on the museum's dome at nearly 1.9 million dome pixels, an increase of one million pixels over the previous system.

The Media Globe uses a fish-eye lens for a sharper, high resolution image reflection on the dome.

The astronomer explained to this science reporter that long term wear on the old projector and the advancement in technology over the years made it necessary to purchase the new model.

"We ran the older projector seven days a week, eight to ten hours a day, and after six years we really wore it out," Dundee explained. "This new projector will allow us to bring more shows created in higher definition to Tellus."

Dundee added the new system will allow the museum to bring to life the constellations and present earth's dynamic weather in a near 3-D view.

The projector's one terabyte computer operates with a touch screen Dome Board monitor and wireless joystick and can allow the operators to zoom in and out of celestial objects with great clarity.

Tellus hopes the new projector's space travel presentations will increase the visitor's appreciation for the stars as the new technology gives one the feeling of movement among the celestial bodies.

Members of the Cartersville museum will have the opportunity to view the planetarium's new show for free on Friday, with shows starting every forty-five minutes beginning at 5:15 p.m. Non-members can attend the dome for half-price with paid museum admission.

The projection upgrade arrives on the heels of Tellus receiving the largest moon rock to be displayed in Georgia, and the soon to be announced addition of two major displays this spring.

(Charles Atkeison reports on aerospace, science and technology. Follow his updates via Twitter @AbsolutSpaceGuy.)

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