The Mayborn Science Theater, located on the campus of Central Texas College (CTC), is currently undergoing a major renovation to upgrade its show capabilities and offerings. A new full-dome video system is being installed by Scientific Content for Interactive Systems Sweden AB (SCISS) at a cost of $352,120, provided by the Mayborn grant funded by Sue Mayborn. Because of the required work, the facility will not offer any public shows this summer.
The new system, branded Colorspace Theater by SCISS, is a carefully designed package of display systems, servers, theater control system and the award-winning Uniview full-dome software that will provide patrons a far superior and more immersive experience than any planetarium in Texas. “The existing system was well past its lifespan and is no longer supportable,” said Cliff Bailey, planetarium manager of the Mayborn Science Theater. “The design became antiquated and since the company it was purchased from is no longer in business, software support non-existent and repair parts are no longer manufactured or available for purchase.”
Much like the former system, the visualization and simulation software application of the SCISS system is aimed at presenting and teaching astronomy, astrophysics and Earth-based sciences such as geography, geology, biodiversity and climatology. And since the Mayborn Science Theater will use the latest version of Uniview, a much-improved version of the current software, the application will allow and further enhance images of the night sky and provide a seamless visualization and navigation of the entire known universe from human scales all the way to the cosmic horizon.
Once installed, the new Colorspace Theater will be easier to operate than the former system. It includes state of the art components and software that make it fully supportable for the next five or more years. “The simpler design of the new system substantially reduces the number of components and points of failure. It also makes extensive use of non-propriety components, such as computers, which will make maintenance and upkeep easier,” said Bailey.
The new system is expected to be up and running at the end of August and the Mayborn Science Theater expects to offer public shows the first week of September. When the facility is open again for public shows, patrons should find the planetarium a more entertaining family outing. “Schools will find field trips more immersive and educational with the new ColorSpace Theater,” said Bailey. “All of our currently licensed shows are compatible so when we re-open we can offer our current library of shows. We will also continue to shop around for new shows to take advantage of the new technology and bring an even more engaging experience for the public.”