National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Grand Reopening of the 4D2U Dome Theater

| Topics

A scene from the Dome Theater test screening (Opening)
A scene from the Dome Theater test screening (Opening)

About the 4D2U Dome Theater

The NAOJ Mitaka Campus 4D2U (Four-Dimensional Digital Universe) Dome Theater was completed in the spring of 2007. Since then, screenings of movie contents presenting supercomputer simulation results and stereoscopic images using the Four-Dimensional Universe Viewer “Mitaka” have been popular.

With the aging of the computers for projecting the movies, public screenings were suspended starting from fall 2014 so that the entire projection system could be updated. Now, the renovations have been completed and public screenings are scheduled to restart using the new projection system in April 2015.

About the New Projection System

The new system introduces projectors capable of showing brighter, higher resolution, higher contrast images. Also, the theater previously used 8 divisions to project the full sky, but this has been changed to 6 divisions, reducing the number of seams between individual projectors. Moreover, the stereoscopic image projection method has been changed from the spectral comb filtering method used up until now to an active shutter system (a time separated method). In this method, signals for the left eye images and right eye images are emitted by one projector at 120 frames per second and received by synchronized 3D glasses. Using this system eliminates light loss, which was a drawback of the spectral comb filtering method, making it possible to offer brighter, clearer images. Additionally, with the former system, 3D projection was not available on the rear portion of the dome; but now with the new system full-dome 3D is possible.

About the Regular Public Screenings

The seating capacity in the Dome Theater has been increased from 20 to 40, allowing many guests to watch at once. Starting from April 2015, the regular screenings will be increased from 2 days per month to 3 days per month (the Friday before the second Saturday, the third Saturday, and the fourth Saturday of each month). We’ve changed to 4 shows per day, so the registration capacity has been changed from 100 to 160 guests.

About the New Videos

Accompanying the recent renovation of the projection system, the Center for Computational Astrophysics (CfCA) produced a new movie “Dark Matter Halo Formation and Evolution (II. Formation of the Large Scale Structure of the Universe).” This piece was computed by the ATERUI supercomputer operated by CfCA. It visualizes the evolution of dark matter halos from the beginning of the Universe up to the present. With the new high-definition system, the 90 million particles are displayed with greater clarity. Also, the method of producing the movies changed to make full use of the new system. As a new experiment, we produced a movie where almost complete omnidirectional stereoscopic vision is possible.

The 4D2U contents production team in CfCA continuously produces movie contents displaying scientifically accurate simulation data and releases them on the Dome Theater and 4D2U websites. Likewise, in addition to being released on the 4D2U website, these new movies are scheduled to be shown at the April regular public screenings.

Link to the Videos Page (Japanese only)

4D2U Dome Theater Website Renewal

Mirroring the projection system renovations, the 4D2U Dome Theater website has been completely redesigned. Applications to register for the regular public showings will be accepted via the new website. If you would like to experience the Dome Theater, please take a look. (The regular public showings are currently held in Japanese.)

We’ll continue to bring you the newest astronomy results through easy-to-understand, fun, scientifically-accurate visual representations.

The New 4D2U Dome Theater website (Japanese only)

A scene from the Dome Theater test screening (Saturn)
A scene from the Dome Theater test screening (the Milky Way Galaxy)
A scene from the Dome Theater test screening (the Milky Way seen in infrared and the Solar System)
4D2U new movie content "Formation and Evolution of the Dark Matter Halos (II. Formation of the Large-Scale Structure)"