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April 10, 2018

In Japan, Saku and Kashiwazaki Renew with GOTO ORPHEUS

Nobutaka Goto, president of GOTO INC, is pleased to congratulate the cities of Saku, within the Nagano prefecture of Japan, and Kashiwazaki in Niigata prefecture upon the reopening of their newly renovated planetariums on March 21 and March 24, 2018, respectively.  GOTO INC has provided ORPHEUS HYBRID Planetarium™ systems in the new model’s first two installations.  This highly innovative system replaces older Model URANUS and Model GX-AT GOTO star projectors at these planetariums.

Those systems had operated strongly for decades, but leaders at each planetarium were excited to expand their abilities to present programs and to move forward with the latest in GOTO technology. As always, GOTO INC is very pleased when our previous customers choose to become repeat customers.

In addition to projecting 88 constellation outlines from the main body of the star projector, the ORPHEUS is the first projector in the world to project the moon using an embedded, high definition, LED-powered video projector. When synchronized with GOTO VIRTUARIUM X fulldome video systems powered by 4K resolution laser phosphor video projectors, the HYBRID systems allow operators at Saku and Kashiwazaki to take audiences anywhere and everywhere in the Universe!

Since the Saku Children’s Science Dome for the Future is dedicated to bringing enlightening experiences to children, in addition to state-of-the-art planetarium projection equipment the theater renovation also included new seats featuring improved handicapped access, new area and directed lighting, and even a renewal of perhaps the world’s only planetarium dome that opens into a proscenium stage for live theatrical performances.

At the Kashiwazaki City Museum, in addition to the projection equipment renewal, updates included a color scheme change for the 12 meter theater and seats, plus more legroom, more comfortable seats, and more handicapped accessible seating. The renewed planetarium will play an even larger role in conveying the messages of the museum regarding the natural and cultural history of the region.


At each dome, the new ORPHEUS planetarium projector is truly the “star of the show.” It is much smaller than the former projectors, projecting 9,500 stars from a starball only 48cm (19”) in diameter to easily fill the 16 meter (52’) Saku dome beautifully. 299 of these stars show the correct color temperature to give new realism to the sky. The sun, moon, and planets are also projected from the main body, with literally all projections illuminated by long-life LEDs. The Milky Way of the ORPHEUS is made up of 8 million micro-stars, showing beautiful and subtle dust lanes within our Galaxy, as well as 56 distinct nebulae and star clusters.

The moon projector of the ORPHEUS uses an embedded, LED-powered, HD video projector. Unlike all previous opto-mechanical planetariums in the world, which use mechanical devices to create basic moon phases, ORPHEUS can project not only the thinnest of crescent moons, but can also show the eerie “blood red” color of a lunar eclipse, or a golden Harvest Moon, and even earthshine on the darkened portion of the moon’s face.

Perhaps the most dramatic new feature of the ORPHEUS is the ability to turn stars on or off according to their brightness. Stars dimmer than magnitude 3.5 can be switched in groups of ½ magnitude each. So the operator can perfectly simulate the
sky as seen through crystal clear mountaintop skies, or from a humid seaside location, a small village, or a giant city. After seeing the drastic difference in stellar visibility from different sites, audiences will hopefully help to minimize light pollution in their local skies.

While the ORPHEUS projector is truly remarkable, joining it with a synchronized fulldome projection system creates a stunning result. The VIRTUARIUM X system uses two Sony 4K video projectors utilizing laser phosphor illumination rather than traditional lamps with short lifetimes. The vivid colors emitted from the GOTO INC lenses are driven by a powerful array of graphics computers and VIRTUARIUM X software. GOTO INC was in fact the first company ever to put color, realtime-rendered video which covered a complete dome, in 1996. Since that time, our software has become amazingly sophisticated in its ability to show realistic…. and fantastic, animated scenes.

At both Saku and Kashiwazaki, those scenes range from familiar local city parks, school yards, and city skylines, to the surface of Mars, to scientific representations of remote exoplanet surfaces. Whether to complement astronomical or cultural programming, or to set the scene for a live puppet show, or to give a beautiful backdrop to a musical performance, VIRTUARIUM X gives staff totally new creative flexibility.

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GOTO INC, founded in 1926, is the world’s largest manufacturer of opto-mechanical planetarium projectors, with more than 1,000 delivered worldwide. While originally a telescope manufacturer, GOTO has now shifted primarily to developing and producing planetarium equipment and programs. GOTO continues to be a planetarium industry leader in innovations such as LED illumination of projectors, digitally controlled planet positioning, fulldome video projection, and the GOTO HYBRID Planetarium™ concept.

Since developing the world’s first color, realtime-rendering video system in 1996, GOTO has continued to refine the VIRTUARIUM system into today’s VIRTUARIUM X. When synchronized to a GOTO opto-mechanical star projector such as the ORPHEUS, PANDIA II, or CHIRON III, a GOTO HYBRID system gives not only the equivalent of 70K resolution of the stars, but colorful, animated video programming as well. GOTO HYBRID systems also utilize manual control consoles that give unprecedented control to users in live programming, or to create new program elements very rapidly after a celestial event takes place.

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