THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA The Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy, opened the completely revamped Priyadarsini Planetarium at the state's Science and Technology Museum in the Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram.

Zeiss had been commissioned to upgrade the planetarium's technology, including installing a new projection dome. In close collaboration with the client and Zeiss's Indian representative office for planetariums, Orbit Animate Pvt. Ltd., India's first hybrid planetarium with a tilted dome has been created. The hybrid planetarium consists of two synchronized components: the opto-mechanical planetarium projector, a Zeiss Starmaster for perfect simulation of the night sky, and the Zeiss digital fulldome system with nine projectors for still and video projection.

While the classic Starball enables the night sky to rise and set with maximum brilliance, the digital projection system can superimpose individual constellations and astronomical phenomena with pinpoint accuracy. The combination of analog star projection and a digital planetarium significantly increases the possibilities for presentation and celestial phenomena are clearly demonstrated, inspiring visitors to take up astronomy and other sciences.

"The guests of honor reacted to the presentation of the new possibilities for education and entertainment with spontaneous applause," said Wilfried Lang of Zeiss Planetariums. "The short movie about light produced by Zeiss for the International Year of Light attracted particular attention." In his opening speech, Museum Director Arul Jerals Prakash said: "This is the most advanced and versatile planetarium in India. It opens up the wonders of astronomy."

The Science and Technology center in Trivandrum was officially opened in 1984.

According to Lang, the upgrade project presented everyone involved with a major challenge. The new planetarium, with a diameter of 17 meters and a tilted auditorium, replaced an old one with a horizontal dome and a diameter of 15 meters without any enlargement of the building. In addition to the technology for the planetarium, Zeiss also installed a modern sound system and the illumination for the dome. Visitors can now enjoy the star shows from more than 200 comfortable seats. Shows and live presentations will be offered in Malayalam, the local language, and in English. Most of the visitors will be schoolchildren and young adults.