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Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Renovation Project

Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Renovation Project


Progress! We are many steps closer to creating a better experience in our Golden Pond Planetarium. Read more about the dome restoration…

Once the painter arrived, many days were spent trying to drill out as many of the paint-plugged holes as possible before painting the new color.

Day 5 Planetarium Dome restoration
Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Restoration Day 5-Spraying new color on dome after drilling out plugged holes

Once two coats of the new grey color have been applied to the entire dome, the next step is to attempt to make all the seams between panels disappear. The challenge here is that the paint in the “seam” holes cannot be drilled out like they can in the middle of a panel.

Each panel overlaps the next panel and the holes on the overlapping inch-wide seam rarely align. This means you cannot see through those seam holes like you can the rest of the panel.

Seam holes need to be black
Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Restoration Day 6-Seam holes overlap

Originally, black tape was installed in the panel overlap. When you looked at the dome under normal lighting, the holes in the seams appeared just as black as the open holes in the middle of a panel – a seamless dome.

At some point in the past, the dome was repainted and the “sandwiched” black tape was covered with white paint.  This made the black-holed seams visible and distracting.

Our painter is attempting to paint the seams black again (to simulate the black tape).  Then, he will carefully repaint over the seam surface with our new grey color taking great care to keep the grey paint out of the holes – leaving them black and the dome seamless.

painting seam holes black
Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Restoration Day 6-Seam holes need to be black, then dome painted gray leaving holes black

The holes are only 5/64 of an inch in diameter and there are 45 per square inch of dome surface in our 40 foot diameter dome. This is a very tedious task!

We are very excited about our 2017 plans!

We are working hard to bring out the best in our planetarium this year by giving our planetarium a makeover.

Day 1 Dome Renovation
Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Renovation Day 1-Preping for seat removal. Photo by Planetarium Staff

In direct response to customer feedback, our first project is to improve the resolution of our projectors. Ironically, that involves changing the dome…Yes! Construction started January 30th on the dome itself.

Day 2 Dome Renovation
Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Renovation Day 2

Our Spitz dome is a bright eggshell white color. That was desirable 40 years ago because projectors of the day required maximum reflectivity. In this day and age, projectors are all about high quality resolution.  And, our planetarium guests expect and deserve the best.

More modern projectors, like our Media Globe II, require a darker color dome to reduce the amount of light “echo” around the dome. Light actually bounces around in the dome just like sound echoes. This causes a high resolution projected image to appear “fuzzy” or “washed-out”. Our guests will soon see a more detailed, crisp, and sharper image.

Day 3 Dome Renovation
Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Renovation Day 3-Platform for lift is in place. Photo by Planetarium Staff

To get the most out of the 1K resolution projector we have today, we are restoring the surface and changing the color of our dome. Notice that I didn’t say “repainting.”

As it turns out, dome restoration is a lost art. We have secured the services of one of the very few people who could restore our dome for optimal viewing. Mark Perkins will soon add Golden Pond Planetarium to his list of credits.

Day 4 Dome Renovation
Golden Pond Planetarium Dome Renovation Day 4-Now that the lift is in the planetarium, phase one is complete. Photo by Planetarium Staff

One secret to his success is that, just like us, he loves planetariums!  A “dome whisperer” of sorts, Mark transforms older domes into domes with renewed surfaces capable of matching high resolution projector capabilities. A bonus is that our already mind-blowing Laser projector will also look even better on the darker dome color.

Our anticipated end-date for this phase of our makeover is March 1st.  We will have many more improvements and offerings to be announced very soon.

By the way…Have you heard about the total solar eclipse will be right in our backyard on Monday, August 21, 2017? This will definitely be the place to be! Stay up to date on our 2017 Solar Eclipse plans at

See you soon,

Golden Pond Planetarium Staff
Friends of Land Between the Lakes

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