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Spitz NanoSeam™ projection dome facilitates state of the art opticals in Adler Planetarium’s new Grainger Sky Theater

Inside the Grainger Sky Theater

CHADDS FORD, Pa., Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The upgraded digital display system in the new Grainger Sky Theater isn’t the only state-of-the-art technology audiences will experience when they visit Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. Visitors to the new theater will see the Universe projected on what is said to be the most technologically advanced projection dome in the world: the Spitz NanoSeam™ dome inside the new 70-foot hemispherical Grainger Sky Theater.

The Grainger Sky Theater recently reopened after a $14 million upgrade, including installation of a 64-million pixel digital display system. To ensure audiences will experience the full impact of the high-tech projections, the Adler selected the highest quality dome available.

“The projection dome is the largest optical element in the Grainger Sky Theater, so it has to meet or exceed the performance of the rest of the system,” said Jon Shaw, CEO of Spitz Incorporated, located in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. “This is accomplished with the NanoSeam dome. The screen technology allows the dome to completely disappear, getting the most out of the image for the audience.”

The quality of Adler’s new NanoSeam dome has everything to do with its seams. The Adler’s dome is made from dozens of compoundly-curved aluminum panels, joined together to make a large, hemispherical surface. Joints where panels come together have to be perfectly made, or noticeable seams will be seen – causing a distracting pattern of lines in projected images. With NanoSeam, the joints are so precisely fitted, it’s almost impossible to see where the panels come together. Spitz’ seaming process is so detailed, even the rivets attaching the panels to the frame are carefully counter-sunk into the screen surface and custom finished to match the exact color and brightness of the dome’s surface.

“The seams are absolutely invisible under projection conditions,” said Mark Webb, Adler Planetarium Theaters Manager. “Having the screen surface “disappear” from the scene adds depth and realism to the projection that exceeds our original expectations for image quality.”

Other factors contribute to the quality of the dome too, including the surface itself. Instead of simply painting the dome after it’s installed, Spitz custom finishes the panels with a proprietary formulated epoxy powder-coating mixture that’s robotically applied before the panels ship from the factory. The surface coating is so durable, it can be cleaned with harsh solvents and it won’t affect the surface. The high-tech coating insures every panel matches every other, so they’re all perfectly even and uniform. 

About Spitz 
Spitz is the world’s leading supplier of planetarium projection domes with over 1,000 installations worldwide. They are the only company that designs, manufactures, integrates and installs complete dome theaters. Products and services include dome screens, theater automation, video systems, lighting, audio systems, show production, and design/engineering. Spitz is a wholly owned subsidiary of Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation (ESCC). On the web:

About the Adler
The Adler Planetarium – America’s First Planetarium – was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people – particularly women and minorities – to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers. Learn more at

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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