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Museum Participates in Development of 360 Virtual Reality Planetarium Sky Tour – Watch Now!

The South Carolina State Museum delves into the world of virtual reality by presenting its first ever VR/360 Planetarium Sky Tour presentation in 4K. Thanks to a collaboration with Bentley Ousley, a fulldome producer and member of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, this video is the result of a project aimed at exploring new immersive ways of sharing the wonders of the night sky with others. While planetarium manager Liz Klimek provided the content and shot the video, Bentley did all the programming and production, in the process designing and building a template and workflow that will be freely shared with the professional planetarium community.

The hope is that other planetarium professionals and astronomy educators will be able to use what he’s provided to facilitate their own forays into the world of VR. As many planetariums remain closed during the pandemic, it’s especially important for these institutions to be able to stay connected with their communities. Being able to custom produce their own VR/360 content would provide them with another powerful tool with which they can engage their audiences far and wide. The State Museum is proud to have been part of such a groundbreaking and beneficial project.

The video was demonstrated at the virtual Western Alliance Conference of Planetariums on July 28th, 2020.

The South Carolina State Museum still offers its full-length 30-min Live Sky program in the 55-foot digital dome BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Planetarium. While VR is immersive, sitting underneath a planetarium sky is the closest way to naturally simulate being outside under the real sky. However, the more ways there are to explore our universe, the better!