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PR # 141 January 29, 2009


The Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Planetarium now offers a new, AllDome High Definition digital projection system, enabling visitors to be surrounded by images for an Imax-like experience.

With the new equipment, Planetarium visitors can now ?orbit? around planets and moons in our solar system like a NASA spacecraft; take virtual tours through the Milky Way and beyond to the 100 billion galaxies at the universe?s edge; or view the universe in X-ray, gamma ray, infrared, ultra violet and radio wavelengths.

The RVCC Planetarium is the first New Jersey facility to offer the AllDome system. The same projection technology has been installed at both the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. The new system has been funded by generous individual donors to the RVCC Foundation.

The RVCC Planetarium?s new AllDome system features six projectors located at the edge of the dome, creating one integrated image that covers the entire projection hemisphere. An array of computers and datasets is utilized to create both live interactive programs, as well as pre-rendered shows. The new system can show how the familiar constellations look from Earth?as well as other sites in our galaxy?and how they will change over a million-year period.

The Definiti Digital Sky 2 system, created by Sky-Skan Incorporated of New Hampshire, was installed at RVCC in December 2008 and has already greatly enhanced dozens of shows for both school and public groups, according to Planetarium Director Jerry Vinski. ?This is a new age in Planetarium technology. It?s changing the way astronomy is taught and will affect other disciplines as well, said Vinski. ?Anything that can be digitized for display on a computer screen for visualization purposes can be projected in the Planetarium for a large audience to see in an immersive way.?

For additional information about the Planetarium or its upcoming schedule of shows for all ages, call 908-231-8805 or visit www.raritanval.edu/planetarium .

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for 40 years, offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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