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GPU-Powered Planetarium Renders 64MP Projection

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-quaint-an-ancient-star-dome dept.

Graphics 108

MojoKid writes "The Adler Planetarium has finished a major two-year upgrade project that's replaced the facility's forty year-old Zeiss Mark VI projector with a 'Digital Starball' system designed by Global Immersion Ltd. The new digital system is powered by an array of NVIDIA Quadro GPUs. The specs behind the system are impressive. The 71-foot dome of the Grainger Sky Theater now contains a score of military-grade projectors with an 8kx8k resolution. The final 64 megapixel image is generated by an array of 42 NVIDIA Quadro GPUs and offers an unprecedented degree of real-time modeling horsepower. The planetarium's model of the universe was created in part from high-definition photos captured around the world and via the Hubble telescope."

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Military grade? (2)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731260)

What's with everything being "military grade" nowadays, from motherboards to video projectors? Is it some kind of fashion, or did US army have a huge sale?

Or do these components actually refer to North Korea's high standards?

Re:Military grade? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731274)

Military grade = So expensive that we sell these to the military (and they are silly enough to pay this much for fancily rebadged off-the-shelf hardware)

Re:Military grade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731318)

which is funny, cause Military grade = so expensive & utter piece of shit. Maintenance costs in the military are ridiculous. I don't want military grade anything, I would be too afraid that it would catch fire and burn my house down before I even turned it on.

Re:Military grade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731282)

It's just marketing.

Joe Sixpack loves the military, and if he gets told that something is "military-grade", he thinks that it must be extraordinary quality, and he's proud that HE gets to benefit from that "military-grade" equipment (of course, he also knows he deserves it).

It works for geeks, too - have you never gotten excited over "carrier-grade networking equipment" or so?

Re:Military grade? (3, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731364)

It works for geeks, too - have you never gotten excited over "carrier-grade networking equipment" or so?

I don't think I have ever seen any product marketed at "prosumers" with the description "carrier-grade". That said, there is definitely a tendency among geeks to want their home switch to be a 24-port rack-mountable layer 3 switch instead of some random unmanaged 8-port desk switch marketed at regular consumers. But this can't just be explained by the "geeks are just as big idiots as Joe Sixpack" argument.

If you're a professional who works with the "pro gear" every day and you also have an interest in the same things as a hobby there is a very real chance you want to have equipment at home which is, if not as good as the equipment you use at work, at least approaching the quality of feature-richness of the expensive gear you use at work.

In college I knew a chemical engineering major who was obsessive about chemistry the way many computer geeks are obsessive about computers and electronics and while his "home lab" wasn't on-par with the university's labs he still had thousands of dollars worth of lab equipment and chemical compounds that he had either scavenged and repaired or purchased with his own hard-earned money. By your logic he should've been using the pots and pans he had in his kitchen to not be an idiot...

Re:Military grade? (1)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731450)

Not that you're wrong but there's a fairly good argument to be made for avoiding contaminating your chemical processes with food residue/your cooking with chemical residue.

Re:Military grade? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731552)

Not that you're wrong but there's a fairly good argument to be made for avoiding contaminating your chemical processes with food residue/your cooking with chemical residue.

Duhh that's why you have one set for cooking food and another set for chemistry. Derp, there's lots of different pots and pans so you can make them look completely different. Herp derp why you could even mark them to further avoid confusion. Wow that was hard to figure out, I see why you needed help.

Re:Military grade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732344)

Welcome to Slashdot, 4chan user.

Re:Military grade? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735870)

The tendency to acquire commercial/enterprise gear speaks to a desire to have feature parity with what you use at work/school, so you can learn properly on the "real thing". That's professional gear. This isn't the same as Joe Sixpack wanting to have something slightly better than the Wal-Mart stuff - that's prosumer. Prosumer gear is generally inspired from the more expensive stuff, but dumbed down a little to make it user-friendly and affordable. As an example, my $400 sound module is a prosumer device. It has a bunch of inputs with built-in mic preamps. The preamps are noisy and the signal routing is fixed, so it's crap compared to the $3500 studio kit, but good enough for fooling around at home. It's certainly better than those horrid Sound Blasters, but it's still considered a toy, a compromise between cost and functionality. If I were building out a real recording studio, I'd spring for the expensive stuff that sounds better.

On the other hand, I personally would not be a very good enterprise sysadmin if I were using consumer/prosumer gear at home. I couldn't sell white-box file servers without having a couple of them in the rack beside my desk for developing and testing, along with a sampling of common SAS expander boards and 10ge adapters. I couldn't charge top dollar for VMware cluster deployments if all I'd ever used was VirtualBox and a portable hard drive. Sure, you can lean on Google, do your research and read about others' experiences, or you can spend a little money and learn first-hand. Tech forums are great for discussing what doesn't work, but only rarely will they identify what actually DOES work. When I design a server or an entire rack of them, there is no guessing. I know it's going to work, because I've tested the exact same hardware/software combination, right here in my living room. That's what a "home lab" is supposed to be.

When you plan on doing something for the rest of your career, it's not at all unreasonable to commit some of your income to further your skills and competitiveness, it's called "investing in yourself". And yeah, heck, it's fun to have big fancy toys :D

Re:Military grade? (2)

lexcyber (133454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731322)

Military Grade is the same as ridiculously expensive items that is hard to maintain and requires special training to operate. Usually only available at universities, military or other government function where money is not an issue when you buy hardware only when talking labor cost. So basically the exact opposite of "Commercial grade".

-L

Re:Military grade? (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731532)

requires special training to operate

Clearly you were not in the military. Military Grade means "GI proof" as in simple and indestructible. That also means its incredibly heavy. So these projectors probably weigh about 500 pounds each and have no controls other than a power switch and no indicators other than"call civilian contractor for service" and possibly a power light.

The only people harder on equipment than GIs, are the oil field roughnecks. Give those guys a screwdriver, they'll work all day to return a metal pretzel. Its a miracle any oil gets pumped at all.

Re:Military grade? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731820)

The only people harder on equipment than GIs, are the oil field roughnecks. Give those guys a screwdriver, they'll work all day to return a metal pretzel. Its a miracle any oil gets pumped at all.

Eh, what are you talking about? Give the oil field roughnecks 2 weeks training and they can go up in the space shuttle!

Re:Military grade? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731992)

Do we have to bring them back down afterwards?

Re:Roughnecks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36736300)

As a roughneck, any tool I hold in my hand is hammer or a prybar, not sure why people insist on making hammers and prybars in so many impracticable shapes or why the push keeps buying them.

SmartLikeTruck

Re:Military grade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732972)

Equivalent to the Cisco racket, then.

Re:Military grade? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731358)

And what about the continuously recurring "GPU" articles. Yes, GPU's are cool, but if it didn't have the magic word "GPU" in the title this would hardly be news.
GPU's are the new "black", it seems...

My laptop has a GPU. Can I submit an article on this?

Re:Military grade? (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732138)

And what about the continuously recurring "GPU" articles.

I think the news here is that someone is using them to actually render and display graphics, rather than to compute bitcoins.

Re:Military grade? (1)

Gamer_2k4 (1030634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733664)

I think the news here is that someone is using them to actually render and display graphics, rather than to compute bitcoins.

So, uh... Why is that news?

Re:Military grade? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733742)

Once again, my feeble attempt at humor is lost on the internet.

Re:Military grade? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36738276)

ROFL.

Re:Military grade? (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731378)

Military grade means it's 15 years old, possibly used, costs anywhere from 3 to 100 times what you can get it for on-line, and may no longer be supported by the manufacturer (if that manufacturer is still in business). Oh, if you're lucky they shock mounted it, or at least installed some rails so you can put it in a shock mounted rack ;)

Re:Military grade? (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731400)

I think its the marketing extension of military grade cooling systems that are on some GPUs and possibly other places.

Thought I doubt the observatory actually used the word to describe it, I believe Military grade actually means some part of our product exceeded any necessary specification for a consumer grade product and is unlikely to fail before another part. I beveller MSI used the idea to sell me my new graphics card after my 4850 burnt out.

Re:Military grade? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731674)

RS or Farnell sell military grade for many of its components. For the most part its 2-5x more expensive, better MTBF and most importantly a much wider range of usable temperatures and storage temperatures. This matters in many civilian applications where normal components typically are not specified to work below zero (they often do, but don't count on it). Marine environments typically need below zero if you are in the north sea for example. It is easier to use an existing standard that already takes this into account.

Re:Military grade? (1)

CPTreese (2114124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731706)

From being in the Army, when I see military grade I think "built by the lowest bidder"

Re:Military grade? (3, Informative)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731964)

What's with everything being "military grade" nowadays, from motherboards to video projectors? Is it some kind of fashion, or did US army have a huge sale?

I have two items that touted military grade components. A radar detector and an amp.

The radar detector has handled the punishing heat of a car window in the desert
for nearly 9 years now.

The amp I bought 25 years ago. Still working to spec even though it has seen
thousands of heat cycles.

So, maybe nowadays military grade is crap. But at one time, you were assured
that whatever that item was, it could go to the Antarctica or Death Valley and
work to spec and not become too brittle to use or melt.

Electrical specs are also held to greater tolerances. That amp, while every other
amp's THD varied wildly, held a very respectable number across their lineup.

It's sad if military grade doesn't mean that any more.

-AI

Re:Military grade? (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732394)

That sort of military grade still exists, however it's expensive and everything has to be designed or redesgined from the ground up to use it, which can be extremely expensive when you start talking modern computers. So military grade often now means COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) put into a ruggedized/shock mounted shell and possibly water cooled.

Re:Military grade? (1)

bledri (1283728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732508)

So, maybe nowadays military grade is crap. But at one time, you were assured that whatever that item was, it could go to the Antarctica or Death Valley and work to spec and not become too brittle to use or melt.

I suspect military grade still more or less means "bullet proof", pardon the pun. But people on both the "government is bad" and "military is bad" sides of the aisle can mock it and feel superior.

Re:Military grade? (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732812)

Don't forget people with military experience who have used military grade printers!

Re:Military grade? (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732634)

I wonder if Military Grade is the same as what we called MilSpec. The US military did a lot of work back in the day to create specifications so what they actually bought wasn't crap. I have not read up on the history but my best guess is that the Army and Navy got into it right after the civil war. During the Civil war a lot of crooks tried to get rich selling junk to the military. Combine that with the rise of things like Steam powered iron clad and later steel warships and it all makes sense. Even today people that build homebuilt aircraft out of wood will reference US Army service manuals and specifications published in the 1920s and 1930s.
Milspec in electronics usually means smaller tolerances, greater enviromental range, more resistance to shock, and higher MTBF. Usually with a higher cost.

Re:Military grade? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36736012)

I wonder if Military Grade is the same as what we called MilSpec. The US military did a lot of work back in the day to create specifications so what they actually bought wasn't crap.

That's probably what "Military grade" components are all about, actually - just ones meeting MilSpec requirements. They aren't hard to get these days - passive components can be had quite cheaply (the incremental cost is minimal), but for ICs, it can be a huge price jump.

And MilSpec parts aren't necessarily higher grade - they just meet the requirements. E.g., temperature and vibration. Commercial temperature parts are usually 0-40C or 0-70C. Industrial parts around -20-100C. MilSpec demands easily -40-140C or so. Then there's vibration, etc. Many parts are temperature insensitive, so the MilSpec version is simply a rebadging of the same part at a higher price (though to be fair, it would've undergone qualification to ensure that yes, it does meet the requirement). After all, a 10% resistor still is a 10% resistor, MilSpec or no. Just the MilSpec one is guaranteed to work within 10% tolerance through the wider environmental range.

Of course, you can buy military spec parts easily, but unless you build them to MilSpec, it's just a regular device.

They also usually aren't as pretty as consumer grade stuff - a military GPS is far clunkier and bulkier (ignoring the P code stuff) than the svelte units you can find at the local Best Buy. Of course, they also work in situations and environments that the ones you can buy will almost never experience, as well.

Here, its probably the final product (the projected image) is pretty much equivalent to what the military uses for its flight sims in fidelity, not that the equipment is MilSpec.

Re:Military grade? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36736130)

Or airliner and space craft simulators? So in other words aerospace spec or to be really honest. Just high resolution.

Ironic... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732484)

Most other countries don't have military grade militaries.

Re:Military grade? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732978)

It used to be a codeword for "built US Army jacket tough" but nowadays usually means "So overpriced you'll wet yourself when you see the bill". for examples see the F22, F35, the latest aircraft carriers, etc.

I think the bigger question is "Can Nvidia survive on this alone with Intel trying to murder them?". Just as AMD lost billions thanks to Intel's OEM bribery and compiler rigging (which the rigging part is still going on BTW, they consider sticking a little FYI in the docs to be a "fix") and caused Via so many losses they recently sold S3 just to get operating capital Nvidia has already had their chipset division taken out back by Intel and shot thanks to Intel's predatory practices.

Now without access to Intel's QPI they are pretty much down to this and discrete chips which I'm betting are pretty small niches. After all AMD doesn't need them since they bought ATI, Intel wants them gone so they can get paid for their shitastic GPUs, so where can Nvidia go?

I personally believe there will end up only two paths before Nvidia, to either buy up Via and release their own X86 APU, or to end up slowly bleeding out before being swallowed up by Intel which I believe is why Intel is behaving the way they are. while mobile is a good market and they have Tegra as long as Apple doesn't use Tegra I don't see them gaining much in that arena and for everyone else it is cheaper to just add a Broadcom mobile chip for video. with Via not only would they have a decent low power chip in the Nano but I would argue that for things like TFA and servers it would kick ass. Especially servers where they would have the power of the Nvidia GPUs with the Via built in hardware crypto.

So only time will tell but I'm betting things won't be rosy for Nvidia without an APU. It is pretty obvious the US justice dept is bought and paid for so Intel won't have to worry about antitrust (if they weren't they wouldn't have gotten away with outright bribery of the OEMs, which the Toshiba exec called "like cocaine" and which for several quarters were what kept dell from showing losses during the price wars) so nobody is gonna stop Intel from putting the squeeze on Nvidia as much as they can. AMD doesn't need them and furthermore their new GPU design philosophy of "build the MOR and add a second for the high end) is cheaper in the long run than the Nvidia top down approach. That just leaves Via which if Nvidia bought now could be had for a song. Frankly I don't know what they are waiting for, time isn't on their side.

Re:Military grade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36734824)

> It used to be a codeword for "built US Army jacket tough" but nowadays usually
> means "So overpriced you'll wet yourself when you see the bill"

okay...

> for examples see the F22, F35, the latest aircraft carriers, etc

Swing and a miss. Find better examples.

Re:Military grade? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735938)

VIA suffered losses because, as a general rule, their products targeted the low end of the market, and even failed to satisfy those bargain hunters. Their chipsets are ass, their ITX boards underpowered, their audio chips noisy. They apparently failed to invest in R&D over the years, always playing catch-up with the big boys.

VIA is to AMD what AMD is to Intel: a wanna-be.

Re:Military grade? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735214)

Military grade just means it's 10 years out of date and 10 times over priced.

Using government math that makes it 100 times more better!

WTF (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731264)

... is a military-grade projector, and why would you want one?

Re:WTF (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731270)

It's one of those projectors used for showing powerpoint slides to troops before a mission.

Re:WTF (1, Funny)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731284)

I want a refund on my tax, please.

Powerpoint for soldiers? What next, battle plans sent via MS .docx? :-)

Re:WTF (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731310)

What next, battle plans sent via MS .docx? :-)

Probably. How else would they do it? They don't have special message machines which self destruct in five seconds.

Re:WTF (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731338)

Actually the battle plans are in power point, the more charts and "sleek" animations the better. .docx is reserved for official records, assuming that the pc you're using was built sometime after 2000. The brief will start once private timmy finds some batteries for the laser pointer and the correct video cable to go from laptop to projector!

Re:WTF (1)

CPTreese (2114124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731750)

you have clearly endured many of these briefings. I always felt pity for "private Timmy" he had to scrambled like a crazy man lest he possibly delay his Commander's briefing. I always hated that commanders were typically too ignorant (or stupid) to set their own equipment up. Before anyone flames me, I was a commander.

Re:WTF (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731832)

Fortunately I have only had to play the role of "private Timmy" a couple times. Though I have unfortunately spent far too many hours adjusting the color scheme of text boxes in powerpoint to get just the right shade of unreadable blue on yellow when black and white would have probably sufficed. I once sent up a brief with the crayon template selected, though it never made it to the official briefing, the response I got for it was worth the extra time wasted editing it yet again.

Re:WTF (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732778)

I was looking for the report from Gen. McMaster, and found this site. pptclasses [pptclasses.com] I want to say this is not serious, but it seems satire gets harder to detect all the time. If the site is real, and an indication of reality, I weep for our boys in the field.

The best I could do is find news stories [nytimes.com] about the report, but not the report itself. It is a fantastic read for anyone in the military or the corporate world. One could change a few words and it would be just as insightful when applied to software engineering or a number of fields. (amusingly enough, while lots of media outlets reported on it, msnbc is silent)

Re:WTF (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733082)

The site seems to be half satire, and half "why the hell are we making these same damn powerpoints over and over when we could just be sharing them".

I am tempted to order the PowerPoint Ranger's framed creed and place it on my desk.

Re:WTF (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733470)

I guess this makes me feel a little better? It still applies equally well to the business world though.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36734532)

Actually the battle plans are in military-grade power point.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731324)

What else are you supposed to show war movies with.

Re:WTF (1)

CPTreese (2114124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731728)

I think a military grade projector relates more to the type of equipment you would install in the Pentagon to review satellite imagery

Zeiss (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731272)

OK so scores of Nvidia chips are cool but a Zeiss Mark VI [wikipedia.org] is wayyyy more cool...

Re:Zeiss (2)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731312)

Even cooler if you link to the correct Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] !

Re:Zeiss (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732388)

The sight of that Zeiss projector rising out of the floor of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC made a big impression on me as a small child. Never forget it. Absolutely wayyy cool!

whats a military-grade projector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731278)

can the planetarium now withstand a bombarding and still show its beautiful model of the universe?

The obligatory... (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731298)

... but can it run Crysis?!?

Re:The obligatory... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731494)

Crysis in a 360 "monitor"? Wow...

Re:The obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733906)

Obligatory indeed. I'm happy that slashdot did not disappoint.

GPU-powered video? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731308)

What's next, GPU-powered OpenGL?

"Military grade" usually means cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731468)

Why do people throw out the term "military grade" as though it somehow confers magical powers. Just because the military bought it doesn't mean it's great or even good. The military buys the cheapest one ply toilet paper. So what.

Home planetarium (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731522)

I want a planetarium at home. Is there a short throw projector that can fill a reasonable ceiling with a half decent resolution? I can make the assets myself for it, but I'm suprised there isn't more of this done. Movie on the ceiling, maybe, but planetarium for the kids is a very cool piece of kit.

Megapixels? So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731540)

Rendering a 2D 64MP display is nothing. Sounds like it's just displaying a raster image. Big deal, you could do that with low-end hardware from 20 years ago.

What's the point of using 3D hardware to render a 2D display? This isn't impressive, it's wasteful.

Now if it was rendering some giant number of polygons plus texturing and shading in real time then that might be impressive.

Re:Megapixels? So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731578)

What's the point of using 3D hardware to render a 2D display? This isn't impressive, it's wasteful.

Just a hunch, but I bet it actually is rendering this in 3D, which means you'd be able to perform fly-bys to the other planets, solar systems, etc. Y'know, the type of thing you'd want to do to get people impressed with your giant planetarium.

Re:Megapixels? So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733250)

Well, dumbass: The hardware is designed to render to a 2D display. Maths beyond your comprehension take the "giant number of polygons" represented by 3D points in a make-believe space and shit out 2D points with some other perspective-corrected coordinates. With these other coordinates it makes a "raster image" with "texturing and shading" and it does this in "real time". Probably has something to do with y-mx+b.

Fucking idiot.

They couldn't work Bitcoin into the story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731592)

That would be a hell of a mining rig.

Re:They couldn't work Bitcoin into the story? (1)

mattb47 (85083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735476)

My thought, too...

Hey, might as well let the system do something else during off hours.

Mining Bitcoins would help pay for (at least part of) the whole setup.

Not bad, not bad... (1)

Giovanny (2273376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731666)

I'll be impressed when it's in 3D. Wait — are they calling 3D without glasses 4D these days? That would be better. No, wait — why don't we just have holodecks already? We've got the tech... http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/cliff-kuang/design-innovation/holograms-you-can-actually-touch [fastcompany.com]

Re:Not bad, not bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731918)

For god knows what reason, the entertainment industry is referring to motion simulation seating rigs (a la D-Box or the room in Star Tours) as 4D.

Re:Not bad, not bad... (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735978)

Probably because it's a form of time travel. By the time the show is over, you wake up and wonder where the time went (and why in hell you paid for it).

Re:Not bad, not bad... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732742)

It is in 3D. It's just that the stars are too far away for you to notice.

Math? (1)

leehwtsohg (618675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731698)

I don't get the math....

Is it a score (20) of 8k by 8k projectors, or a score of projectors, totaling 8k by 8k.
And how exactly do you divide 8k x 8k by 20?
8k / 4 = 2k, 8k / 5 = 1.6k, so they have projectors that have a resolution of 2000 x 1600. Impressive if right - vs 1920x1080 projectors.

Enjoying the stars, and suddenly... (1)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731730)

BSOD!

Re:Enjoying the stars, and suddenly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731778)

Dude, this is called universe collapse.

bitcoins anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731852)

They could farm a lot of Bitcoins in their downtime, and sell them to pay for all that overpriced equipment o:

How things have changed. (1)

ModelerRick (728925) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731858)

I recently went to a show at the Morehead Planetarium at the University of North Carolina. They recently retired their Zeiss projector. It was still there, until they figure out where it's going and how to get it out of the building, but the show used digital projectors. The Morehead Planetarium holds a place in the history of the US manned space program, all of the Astronauts from the Mercury program, through Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab were trained on astronavigation at Morehead, albeit the planetarium at that time had an even earlier Zeiss projector, which I was told is now somewhare in Texas after being replaced in the 1970s IIRC. In the basement there's a display about the astronaut's use of Morehead, and the contrast in technology is striking. For example on display are:
  • The wooden 'hood' used to simulate the astronaut's view through the small window of the Mercury spacecraft.
  • The device used to project an orbital track on the planetarium dome, which was made from a food can with a slit holding a light bulb.
  • A wooden low fidelity mockup of the seats and windows of the Gemini spacecraft. This is available for patrons to sit in.

And my favorite, A device used to simulate the blinking light on the Agena which was used in the Gemini project for rendevous and docking. This was a light with a rotating shutter, who needs 'fancy' electronics.

Re:How things have changed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731892)

Personally, I miss the Zeiss. Met my husband in that building. Doesn't seem quite the same to go in and watch a movie.

Re:How things have changed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733378)

Hi, Rick -- great observations from your Morehead visit! A lot of our special effects inside the planetarium were very low-tech in the early years. We used large cans from food service to house bulbs behind the perforated dome -- this showed the Sun's movement across the sky. We created different "traveling through space" effects using random objects -- a colander, a light bulb and a motor from a car's windshield wiper create one effect, a disco ball and a belt made from an inner tube section create another effect, and the list goes on. There were nearly 400 different devices (carousel slide projectors, Barco projectors, homemade effects, strobes, etc.) in addition to our Zeiss VI. Our new fulldome digital video projector system replaces ALL of that.

Just an "Overhead Projector" (2)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731914)

For what it is worth, I think this is the "overhead [politifact.com] projector" [discovery.com] that John McCain cited in a presidential debate as a $3 million example of government earmark abuse by Obama. Gosh, it's amazing what ordinary office equipment is capable of these days! It's nice to know the government has absolutely no interest in inspiring and educating children, advancing technology, and attracting tourism.

(By the way, that earmark, and the bill it was attached to, never became law)

Re:Just an "Overhead Projector" (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732904)

I often find that science earmarks get hit a lot by both parties. Pork is almost always money spend on some other state. McCain also listed a few million dollars being spend for seismic studies in Missouri as park barrel I am sure that he put both on the list after an aid briefed him like this.
"Obama wants $3 million dollars for a projector that puts pictures on the wall."
and
"Some congress man wants to spend x million of dollars studying earthquakes in Missouri! Who ever heard of earthquakes in Missouri?"
As the average person about both of those even an educated one like a lawyer and they will probably give you the same reaction as McCain. I wonder how many other Pork projects I hear about are actually good projects that I just don't understand.

Of course even saying that I have to wonder why the federal government was going to buy a projector for a planetarium. Couldn't they get donations?
 

Re:Just an "Overhead Projector" (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733328)

Of course even saying that I have to wonder why the federal government was going to buy a projector for a planetarium. Couldn't they get donations?

They did. The $900k from the federal govt. was just a fraction of the total renovation cost. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-adler-projector-13-mar13,0,257762.story [chicagotribune.com]

NM that stuff, this is a Brute Force BEAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732104)

No password is safe lol.

Constellations Ursa Maior, Minor, Haxor rulez! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732180)

The essential difference between the Zeiss "dumbell" and the GPU-farmed projectors is the teenage Joe from the basement of his parents' house. I have yet to see a Zeiss electro-mechanical star machine print "In a distant galaxy, a long, long time ago - All your base are belong to us!" over the projection of the Milky Way. Not so sure about the newest generation "unhackable" digital planetariums. Don't be suprised if the UFO of Elvis flies across the dome sometime during the performance.

No Where Near as Good as the Zeiss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732286)

The purpose of a planetarium is to show the night sky, and for that, the Zeiss is much better than a CGI system. A real night sky has a very high contrast ratio between the stars and the background. The Zeiss can come very close to that--no projector is in the ballpark. The difference is very clear to the audience.

Do you want a night sky that makes the audience gasp (the way a real night sky would), or do you want an IMAX?

Re:No Where Near as Good as the Zeiss (1)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732772)

It's in Chicago. There's so much haze and light pollution here that you can't even see real stars.

MIL-SPEC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732396)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Military_Standard

Benchmarks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732438)

Finally.. something that can play Crysis!

Too bad... (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732488)

Too bad they destroyed the airport, or I'd fly in to see the show.

For those of you that remember... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732956)

this is the infamous $3 million "overhead projector" [gizmodo.com] from the 2008 election.

42 NVIDIA GPUs in one room... (1)

buckeyeguy (525140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733284)

I can hear the little kids on a field trip to the planetarium... "the stars are bright! I can see the Milky Way! Wow, the stars are hot and LOUD..."

Unimpressive? (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733488)

Maybe I'm missing something, but 8000x8000 doesn't seem like a terribly impressive resolution, especially stretched across a 71-foot dome (is that radius or diameter? No, I DRTFA, why do you ask?). Hell, my monitor at home's 2048x1152, so this 'amazing' projection system is the equivalent of 8 of my home monitors?

Re:Unimpressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733782)

You fail to account for surface area in your reasoning. Calculating the surface areas of both systems and dividing leads to the following equation:

(8 000 * 8 000) / (2 048 * 1 152) = 27.1267361

So actually, about 27 of your home monitors fit in their total projected resolution.

Re:Unimpressive? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733924)

No, it would be the equivalent of ~28.4 of your home monitors, and the computational power to do 3D modelling of the universe at that resolution at better than real time.

Re:Unimpressive? (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734220)

It occurs to me that my math was a bit faily there...

Re:Unimpressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36734262)

Maybe I'm missing something, but 8000x8000 doesn't seem like a terribly impressive resolution, especially stretched across a 71-foot dome (is that radius or diameter? No, I DRTFA, why do you ask?). Hell, my monitor at home's 2048x1152, so this 'amazing' projection system is the equivalent of 8 of my home monitors?

How do figure that 8 2048x1152 projector can project 8000x8000? Just counting pixels, you get:

(8000 x 8000) / (2048 x 1152) ~= 27.13

So this system is pushing more than 27x the pixels of your projector, much more than the 8x you state. 28 of your projectors in a 4x7 array would be 8192x8064.

Re:Unimpressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36736054)

There are 8 of these 8k by 8k projectors, another 8 times your number.

Re:Unimpressive? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734272)

There are EIGHT of those projectors on that 71' dome.

Need More Disk Space (1)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733672)

I'd love to update my asteroid discovery movie [youtube.com] for this, I've rendered a 4kx4k version for some lesser planetariums, but 8kx8k will mean upgrading my disk storage I think.

How long will this setup last? (1)

farnham (160656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734156)

I just see a lot of equipment that will break, become obsolete, and have to be maintained more than the previous projector that lasted 40 years.
It sounds cool, but try to replace a video board when one burns out twenty years from now. I'd rather have the Zeiss.

Never before has there been seen (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735502)

A clearer close up view of Uranus. Did you know that Uranus has a gassy atmosphere?

huh? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735626)

What exactly is a "military-grade" projector?

Are there particularly robust presentations needed for military purposes?
Do the troops in the field need especially high-powered and durable light shone to display movies, or perhaps graphics?

It sounds as impressive as hell, perhaps a giant searchlight mounted on a trundle-carriage like a WWI tank?

Home planetarium (1)

rlseaman (1420667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735804)

Somebody mentioned wanting a planetarium at home. This is very doable. The current version of WorldWide Telescope:

        http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/ [worldwidetelescope.org]

supports a very straightforward remapping onto a dome through multiple projectors (don't know about the military grade nonsense). There's a calibration screen that handles all the geometry. Just need some baffling to minimize the overlap between projectors.

Navigating through the Sloan galaxies is very impressive on a planetarium dome. WWT also displays a half million objects in the asteroid belt, Kuiper belt, etc in real-time (or in accelerated motion) using that space-age GPU technology. (Of course, "real-time" is another overused buzzword.)

Supports Kinect controls for the game addicts.

neat - anybody been to the show yet? (1)

Fubari (196373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36736094)

Neat - anyone been to the show yet? I'd love to see a first hand report - it will be a while before I can get down there myself.
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