Create your own planetarium with Stellarium

Sep 2, 2017

Create your own planetarium with Stellarium

Press the “Calculate single camera” to calculate the alignment and edge blending and preview the results on the screen.

Immersive Calibration PRO is the most versatile software for multi-projector auto-alignment on different types of projection screens. 
One of the supported screens is full dome projection screen used in planetariums.
Using one camera with full-circle fisheye lens, users can align the projection in a matter of minutes.

There are a lot of software package that are used in planetariums. One of the most advanced and most complete open-source software is Stellarium.

Stellarium supports different types of projection including full circle fisheye projection. This software can be used perfectly with Immersive Calibration PRO and Immersive Display PRO to auto-align and drive planetarium domes.

This guide shows how to configure the PC, how to align multi-projectors dome with Immersive Calibration PRO and how to configure Stellarium to be able to use it for planetarium domes.

For this setup we will use a very affordable dome projection with full dome screen and 5 (1024×768) projectors. The 5 projectors cover the complete dome surface with enough overlap for edge blending. Projectors are connected to a single PC using ATI Eyefinity graphics card with 6 outputs.

In order to make optimal use of the resolution, we will need to make sure that all 6 outputs are connected and recognized by windows. Because we use only 5 projectors connected to the graphics card, we will use an EDID emulator (to emulate 1024×768 resolution) and connect it to the graphics card 6th output.

Once the 6 outputs are recognized, we use ATI Eyefinity setup and group all 6 outputs in one grouped 3×2 display. The total resolution of the display is 3072 x 1536.

We will use Immersive Calibration PRO client server mode. 
On the PC connected to the projectors start client.exe and set projector configuration 3×2.

On the server PC, connect a Canon DSLR camera with fisheye lens and start server.exe.

elect “Create new project”, “No stacking” and ,Full dome (fisheye camera)” projection screen.

In the server display, select projector configuration 3×2, select the projector resolution 1024×768 and connect to the projectors on the client PC.

Once in the camera window, select the connected Canon camera.

Before scanning the projectors, open the Settings/Screen window and configure the dome as a Classical (Azimuth UP) dome.

Because the 6th output will not be used, open the Settings/Projectors window and make sure the Projector6 is “excluded”. This will make sure that nothing will be drawn on output 6.

In the camera window, make sure that the screen grid fits and dome circle. 

Press the “Scan projector to View” button to scan all the projectors. After scanning is finished projectors will be mapped to the dome.

Press the “Calculate single camera” to calculate the alignment and edge blending and preview the results on the screen.

For more infromation how to use dome calibration use the dome step by step guide:

Immersive Calibration PRO (Step By Step Guide Dome)

Because Stellarium fisheye projection centers the full circle in the middle of the full-screen display, we will need to tell the alignment which part of the display area to take as full circle.
One the Settings/Display area screen and press the “Full circle” button. This will fit the alignment area with the full drawn by Stellarium.

Press the export button to export _single.procalib files. Do not export multi.procalib files or any domemaster.procalib files.

Save the project and exit Immersive Calibration PRO client and server. This concludes the alignment of the projection.
Stellarium software needs to be configured in fisheye mode to be able to be used with the exported calibration data.

Start Stellarium, open View/Markings and select Fish-eye projection.
Close the View dialog, and use the mouse the center the fish-eye circle in the middle and use the PageUp/Down to set the FOV to 180 deg.
Additionally, in Configuration/Tools window select “Disc viewport” to make sure nothing is drawn outside of the circle.

This configuration can be saved and used each time Stellarium is started.

The next step is to load the exported .procalib files in Immersive Display PRO.

Start Immersive Display PRO, click on the display and select external calibration

Load the exported _single.procalib file and minimize Immersive Display PRO.

Now start Stellarium in full screen mode.

The images will be geometrically corrected and edge-blended to that the output on the dome screen is perfect.

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