TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Faulkner Planetarium at the College of Southern Idaho reopens Tuesday after receiving a $750,000 upgrade.
"I can't wait for the audience to get in here," planetarium manager Rick Greenawald told The Times-News (http://bit.ly/1bv2h8Y ).
The 144-seat planetarium closed for about seven weeks so a Digistar 5 projection system, LED cove lighting system and Dolby surround sound system could be added. Greenawald said the new system will allow images to be projected on the planetarium's entire 50-foot dome screen.
Greenawald said the full-dome projection "gives a feeling of motion."
Some of the planned shows include "Violent Universe: Catastrophes of the Cosmos," and "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure."
A sneak preview Thursday impressed CSI spokesman Doug Maughan. In the sea monsters program, the sea creatures appear overhead and sometimes seem to be swimming toward the viewer.
"I was blown away by how immersive the video is on the dome," Maughan said. He said the equipment hadn't been upgraded since the planetarium opened in 1995.
Greenawald said the new system is faster and will allow three more show times per week. The new schedule includes two shows each night Tuesday through Friday, and six shows on Saturday.
About half of the money to buy the Digistar 5 came from the college, and the rest from an endowment to the College of Southern Idaho Foundation by Earl and Hazel Faulkner.
Debra Wilson, executive director of the CSI Foundation, said the fund supports upgrades to the Herrett Center for Arts and Science, including the planetarium.
Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com