An instrument designed to represent the relative positions and motions of celestial objects. Originally a mechanical model of the Solar System (see orrery), the planetarium of today is an intricate optical device that projects disks and points of light representing Sun, Moon, planets, and stars on the interior of a fixed hemispherical dome. The various cyclic motions of these bodies as seen from a given latitude on Earth can be simulated. Of great assistance to students of astronomy and celestial navigation, planetariums also attract large public audiences. The first modern planetarium, built in 1923 by the firm of Carl Zeiss, is still in use at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
Related category INSTRUMENTATION
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