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A Better Zeiss

QVMAG Technical Officer Chris Arkless and I are very happy with the recent upgrade to the Planetarium’s Zeiss ZKP3 projector.

The current projector was purchased from the Stardome Planetarium in Auckland, New Zealand, thanks to a grant from the Grote Reber Foundation.  It replaced the old ZKP1, which is now on display in the Southern Skies exhibition.

The current one is computer-controlled, however by early 2015 it was time for major work to be done as it had been running all the time not on Windows but on DOS! Some of you may remember DOS from long ago. We needed an upgrade desperately, as the old DOS PC was on its last legs.

Chris had performed excellent work on the projector, especially in 2014, to keep it in operation, but it was also time to give the projector a professional service by a Zeiss technician, which was done in February 2015.

On his first-ever visit to Australia, Mario Rauh, from Zeiss in Jena, Germany, visited Tasmania for a week to perform all of the necessary work, with important assistance from Chris. The upgrade was completed and Mario spent the rest of his time giving the projector a comprehensive overhaul, having brought lots of spare parts.

Chris Arkless (left) and Mario Rauh performing maintenance on the Zeiss ZKP3 projector.

Chris Arkless (left) and Mario Rauh performing maintenance on the Zeiss ZKP3 projector.

‘She’s an old lady,’ said Mario, as he gradually brought all of her parts back into efficient operation, working every day including a full weekend.

All of the aims were achieved, and we now have a considerably updated and fully serviced projector with far better programming capabilities.

In the only spare few hours we had, I took Mario around to see a few sights in Launceston and the Tamar area. A photogenic Echidna saw Mario’s camera working overtime!

The digital shows will also continue, with a new one planned to commence over the next few months. We’re proud to be continuing to excite our public audiences and provide a first-class educational service for our many school groups.

Martin George, QVMAG Planetarium Manager

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