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Planetarium design firms selected for MKAEC project

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Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Contact: George Jacob, (808) 933-3917

For Immediate Release

Tilting dome planetarium captures interactive Mauna Kea summit experiencecoupled with large format pano-hemispheric motion picture projection systems.

Three firms have been selected to design the University of Hawai`i at Hilo Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center's planetarium and auxiliary projections systems, announced Project Director George Jacob. Sky-skan, Astro-Tec Manufacturing Inc. and Goto Opticals Manufacturing Co. will design starfields, planetary motion, special effects, a full-dome video, and high precision mirror slews for the $28 million MKAEC.

Sky-Skan's major automations include integration of planetarium systems at the Detroit Science Center, Adler Planetarium Chicago, Dorrance Planetarium, Phoenix, Coca-Cola Space Theater Columbus, Albert Einstein Planetarium at the Smithsonian Institution and the Cinedome at Orlando Science Center, among others. Astro-Tec is recognized as the world leader in design and manufacturer of projection screen equipment, manufacturing dome-screens for over 37 years; Goto Opticals is the world's largest manufacturer of planetarium systems with an impressive array of projects worldwide and over 100 on-going current contracts with various educational institutions.

"The dazzling design elements break the mold of conventional thinking, making this the most singularly unique planetarium facility of its kind in the world," said Jacob. "With panoramic interactive views of the summit of Mauna Kea, the tilted 18 meter dome is likely to accommodate cinder cone-inspired un-conventional theatre seating." "This is yet another path-breaking endeavor at the UH Hilo campus that will impact our communities in times to come," commented Chancellor Rose Tseng.

Apart from the planetarium, the Center will contain nearly 24,000-square-feet of exhibitry that will weave a compelling story of human exploration, bringing elements of astronomy and Hawaiian culture around a common vision.

The Center is slated to open in the UH Hilo University Park of Science and Technology in mid-2005.

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