Dare To Compare
Don't take our word for it - SEE FOR YOURSELF! - Discover the Difference! Our unique Discovery Domes using the "Newtonian 2" projection system from Avela blow the lid off of expensive portable planetarium systems ... a "penny a pixel" for the pixels that are actually projected (beware - some systems project just a part of the available pixels!) Why get fewer pixels for more money? Come and see us at events around the world, or schedule a demo.
Let us bid your planetarium job - we offer MORE for LESS, and we are a U.S. woman-owned small business - which may be critical if you use government funds to purchase.
Fisheye or Mirror? We offer both! Fisheye and mirror systems have their advantages and disadvantages; that's why we offer both. Truncated fisheyes from Elumenati offer many of the advantages of mirror systems (higher resolution, optimized for movies). Check out our Fisheye or Mirror page to see which system is best for you. You can even use our projection system with an optical starball for the best of both!.
Beware of Cheap Imitiation Domes! We have seen reports from purchasers of cheap imitation Go-Domes, that failed flame tests! Insist on a sample of the material from YOUR DOME and do a flame test of your own! All our systems come with extra material from YOUR DOME, so you can convince yourself of the safety of YOUR system (and also let you use it to patch any small pinholes that may occur).
Compare to Digital Starlab:
They use an expensive fisheye system, which is good for stars, but less optimized for movies, and cannot quickly switch to a flatscreen or 3D movie, as we can. We offer not only fisheye systems, but also mirror systems, which provide more pixels at less cost. Remember - the sweet area (front center) uses the BEST part of the mirror but the WORST part - the edge - of a fisheye lens. Digital Starlab is using a custom version of the Go-Dome™ domes we sell. We think our version of the design is better - a taller doorway and velcro tabs to hang banners - check us out head to head at NSTA!
BEWARE of cheap knockoff domes! Making a fabric that is lightweight and flame resistant (to stringent California standards) is not cheap. Insist on a piece of fabric for you to test, and insist on getting a copy of the flame certifications. Is that company going to still be in business if you have a problem?
Compare to Digitalis:
Their system is great if you just want stars and planets... and their remote control is nifty. Their system is omnidirectional, with the projector in the center of the dome, optimized for starfields. Our system is unidirectional, better for most movies which are designed for the viewers to face forward. We only cover 90% of the dome, but the sweet spot (straight ahead) is significantly crisper and higher resolution, and the best seats in the house - the center - isn't taken up by equipment! (our projector is in the back, near the door). If we want to show the very back part of the starfield, we just rotate it into view, so the viewers don't need to crane their necks! Their standard dome is "zip up" - everyone has to enter all at once ... but our Go-Dome allows easy entry and exit, even roll-in handicapped, during a show. (They are now offering our dome as an option for their system). Their system is Linux - ours is Windows 7 or Mac OSX, so it is easy to maintain onsite and is completely modular, so you can have a spare laptop on hand or to train your staff. We have found that of the 70,000 students who learned from the Discovery Dome in Houston last year, 90% of the teachers chose educational videos aligned with their teaching objectives rather than a live star show. Certainly their system can show movies, and our system uses Stellarium to show stars and planets, so both systems can do both... so try both and see for yourself! Our standard system comes with four full length movies, theirs with only one. Our MediaShow software easily allows showing just a clip of a movie, showing a flatscreen movie on just a portion of the dome (the sweet spot in front), creating your own show from a folder of images and a sound file of your choice, showing a movie with a fulldome image background, and much more. Finally, our system was developed by a working Space Scientist and Astronomy professor (Patricia Reiff, Ph.D.) in cooperation with a museum educator (Carolyn Sumners, Ed.D.) who has personally taught well over a million students in her career, mostly in a planetarium dome. She knows from experience what students and teachers want and need, and what is most effective in a dome, and has produced over 25 planetarium shows. Lastly, by using movies (and movie clips), the operators don't have to have the training it takes to make an effective live star show, and we can teach Earth science, human body, human evolution, climate change, as well as astronomy shows. We provide quarterly Stellarium scripts (along with operator narration) to show the highlights of the season, free to all customers under service contracts. (We prerender quarterly star shows, optimized for each specific location, for $500 a quarter).
Compare to Ash Enterprises
Ash features a mirror system in fixed dome installations. They at present don't create their own portable dome, or create their own content. They are now offering a dual-mirror system which is a copy of our Newtonian dual-mirror system. Again, we are flattered by the imitation, but, again, insist on the first and the best!