Montogmery's W.A. Gayle Planetarium is one of the largest planetariums between Atlanta and New Orleans. Since it first opened in 1969, it has run on a STP star transit projector. However, Director Rick Evans says it is now time to move into the digital age.
"It's 360 degrees of video imagery. So, the entire theater, you're in the middle of the action, everything is happening all the way around you. The projector we are putting in has the highest pixel quality of anything on the market. It's high definition on steroid," said Evans.
Evans says the new programs will be much more dynamic - giving viewers the visual experience of zooming in and out of galaxies and planets. And even the ability to switch programs beyond astronomy to underwater sea creatures.
The planetarium upgrade will also bring in a new seating arrangement.
"Originally it sat 230 people at a time. But those seats are not really comfortable for people to get in and out of, so we are going to reconfigure the seats. We're going to make it more handicap accessible," said Evans.
Evans hopes this will help to preserve the past while moving the planetarium into the future.
Construction will begin Friday, January 24th and will last until March 1st.
The project will cost $500,000. It will be funded by the City of Montgomery and Troy University with support from the Daniel Foundation, Hyundai, and the State of Alabama Education Trust Fund.