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Immersive Dome Projection Solutions

Newtonian Spherical Mirror

Like the Newtonian telescope, the Newtonian projection device uses two first-surface mirrors: a curved mirror and a flat mirror. In the Newtonian projection system, the curved mirror is convex and displays the image from a projector over a dome. (The primary mirror of a Newtonian telescope in concave and designed to gather light and focus it onto an eyepiece).

In both the Newtonian projector system and the Newtonian telescope, the flat mirror transfers the image to the mirror in the projector and to the eyepiece in the telescope. The Newtonian projection system uses the Go-Vex™ first-surface convex mirror. Its most critical design criterion is protection of the primary mirror during transport and while in projection mode.

The Newtonian mirror projection system serves the function of a fisheye lens at a fraction of the cost for the resolution on the dome (similar to the advantages of the reflecting telescope over the refractor). Also the Newtonian has a small footprint — 60 cm wide and 30-45 cm deep (2 feet by 12-18 inches) — and is placed along the back wall of the dome, leaving the centre of the dome free for visitors. It produces hemispheric coverage with a small area of shading and distortion at the back, directly above the mirror.

The Newtonian is designed to use an HD projector with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 or 1200 although higher resolution options up to 4k are also available. Brighter projectors usually have superior performance – especially in larger domes. Unlike the fisheye, which must be installed in a specific projector, the Newtonian takes a range of standard HD projectors found in home theatres and conference rooms. In the HD projection over 84% of the projector’s pixels reach the dome with over 95% of the dome covered. When a projector needs repair, a second projector can replace it immediately. The Newtonian™2 rarely needs repair, but customers may change out the primary Go-Vex™ convex mirror after several years of use.

The Newtonian is very portable and normally travels on top of a rolling case containing the projector, laptop and sound system – for easy transport to a school or community setting. An operator with practice can set up a Planetarium and Newtonian system in less than 30 minutes, with similar amount of time required for takedown. The dome, fan, and projection system can all fit on one hand-truck.

The Newtonian is very portable and normally travels on top of a rolling case containing the projector, laptop and sound system – for easy transport to a school or event setting.

1. The Newtonian is far less expensive that fisheye solutions. 

2. The Newtonian eliminates chromatic aberration associated with the horizon of fisheye lenses.

3. Newtonian projection solutions are resolution independent with the only limited to the resolution being the projector you have chosen to use.

4. Newtonian projection solutions are infinitely upgradable. You are not stuck with the initial projector you have chosen. As projector technology continues to improve in lumens and resolutions, you are free to change out for a new projector while repurposing the original projector for classroom or other uses without penalty. This makes Newtonian mirror solutions green and better for the environment.

5. More pixels on the dome! A fisheye lens coupled with a high definition projector loses over 50% of the available pixels due to the round nature of the dome master that the fisheye lens must project. A warped image designed for a mirror captures 84% of the available pixels giving you more pixels on the dome and higher resolution regardless of what ever apples to apples projector comparison you choose to make. One of the product images illustrates this, showing 3 images.

1. The Newtonian™ 2’s Go-Vex Mirrors are criticized for being so delicate that you cannot even blow on them. Not true. We maintain a cautious approach to the care and maintenance of the Go-Vex™ Mirror, but it is the only cleanable first surface mirror available to the market today.

2. The Newtonian™2 coverage is distorted and not complete at the back of the theatre. We want to point out that with the Newtonian system, when properly aligned in portable domes, cover over 95% of the dome without distortion. And in fixed domes using Newtonian systems, ALL distortion and coverage issues can be eliminated by careful alignment.