Beyond the Atmosphere: Inside the Adler Planetarium
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Saturday, March 24th, 2007 • 8:30am Local (CDT) • 1330 UCT
Loading panorama viewer ...
EquipmentThis panorama was created using a Nikon D80 camera equipped with a Nikor 10.5mm wide-angle lens, mounted on a Nodal-Ninja SPH-1 spherical bracket atop a Manfrotto 055MF4 Tripod. The images were stitched using PanoTools and PTGui (version 6), postprocessed with Photoshop CS2, and compiled using Pano2QTVR.
Making the panorama: Spheres inside spheresI find this panorama interesting on many levels. Of course there’s the subject matter itself. As a city dweller, I miss seeing stars at night and greatly enjoy camping out in parts of the country where the sky does get dark at night. Beyond that, however, there are numerous resonances between the technologies used both to view this panorama, and the image being viewed. QTVR projections are a form of virtual reality, as is the projection created within the planetarium. The former projects an image on the inside of a virtual sphere, the latter projects one on a real life dome. The panoramic image of the nighttime skyline projected on the dome is captured in this panoramic image of the theater. Boxes inside boxes or, more appropriately, spheres inside spheres.
On a more technical note, the image you see is not real in the sense that in order to get a “dark, starry sky” above and a view of the theater and the controls below, a composite of two different exposures was used to create this panorama. The glow at the top of the image is the result of having lights shining up on the projector during the procedure. This was purposefully done to highlight the dome itself. In the normal course of a sky show, the theater is in almost complete darkness.
The sky projected on the dome accurately represents the position of the stars near the time the image was created. North is behind the control panel, the city is to the west and darkness over Lake Michigan is to the east. Taurus is clearly visible rising in the east, Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) is setting behind the buildings of the city. Andromeda is high overhead; look for the Andromeda galaxy just outside the lighted part of the dome. Other constellations are there if you look for them. The sun and moon were not projected.
Many thanks go out to the staff of the Adler Planetarium, especially Mark Webb, the Theaters Manager, for allowing me the opportunity to come in and create this image.