A History of Planetarium Innovation at GOTO INC

Since releasing the Model M-1, the first Japan-made lens type planetarium* in 1959, GOTO INC has released a wide variety of models. This diversity has not only been due to the availability of technological advancements, but is also a reflection of the pioneering spirit of the GOTO company and its dedicated staff members, who always set forth new challenges for themselves. As we look toward future generations, GOTO will continue to introduce evolutionary (and revolutionary) planetariums as a comprehensive and innovative creator of domed spaces.

*A lens type projection planetarium able to project sharply focused images of both fixed stars and the automated annual motions of the sun, moon, and planets.

GOTO had first considered adopting a Zeiss type design, with starballs at opposite ends of planet cages. But to avoid the mechanical flexing of that design, GOTO instead adopted the Morrison type design, with starballs near the center of the machine. This became the basic design for many years to come. These design elements became part of the L-1 series, and in fact many continue into be used even in today’s computer-controlled projectors.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, GOTO added a rotating turntable function and panorama or Skyline projectors to the central projector. The Model GX, GM, and the rest of the G-series added automation capabilities not only to the planetarium projector, but to dozens of the slide and special effects projectors in the dome as well. This ushered in a whole new type of programming, allowing more complex recorded storytelling, as well as enhancing live program presentation. The planetarium’s appeal to wider audiences was expanding.

The 1980’s were an exciting time in space and astronomy education. Personal computers brought new capabilities to the planetarium and were embraced very early by GOTO INC. In 1981 the Space Shuttle was launched, and humans looked down on the earth in a whole new way. The GOTO Model GSS I was born, enabling immersive, tilted planetarium theaters to be created. And GOTO ASTROVISION hemispheric film projectors joined planetarium projectors to take visitors around the world and beyond in these new “Space Theaters.”

In the 1990’s, GOTO expanded the computer control of internal subsystems, giving the projectors definite “smart functions” which made them more accurate, fast, and responsive to automated or manual control. These controls also allowed the viewer to be placed anywhere in our solar system in “GOTO Space Simulator” mode. And in 1996, GOTO INC released the world’s first color, real-time-rendered, fulldome video projection system, VIRTUARIUM, to complement its opto-mechanical projectors. This development revolutionized the planetarium industry.

In the 2000’s, GOTO took the next logical step in planetarium evolution. The GOTO HYBRID Planetarium® was created, for the first time synchronizing the motions and effects of both the opto-mechanical projector and the fulldome video system. This unified HYBRID system replaced scores of slide and special effects projectors with coordinated manual or automated control of both systems at once. Dynamic color animations joined precision, beautiful stars in what is acknowledged as today’s ultimate planetarium system.

But GOTO is not stopping there. We continue to innovate and challenge ourselves to push even farther. The next generation of GOTO planetariums are now showing the Milky Way made up of individual star images. All naked-eye stars are now available in their proper color temperatures. And projectors take up less space, require less maintenance, and consume less energy. We at GOTO INC continue to challenge ourselves to present the real and beautiful sky.

  • M-1 (Mars)
  • L-1 (Saturn)
  • M-2 (Jupiter)
  • S-3 (Venus)
  • S-1
  • S-2
  • L-2(GL-20)
  • GM-15
  • GS-8
  • GX-10
  • GE-6
  • GM-II
  • GX
  • GS
  • GE-II
  • GN
  • GL
  • GSS-I
  • GSS II
  • G1014si
  • G1518si / G1518-AT / G1920si