To Infinity & Beyond!
No rocket necessary for this space exploration! This high-definition, full-dome experience will take you to the far reaches of the galaxy. Explore the universe’s mysterious outer limits and learn how to locate planets and constellations from your own backyard. Henry Buhl Jr. (1848 – 1927) was a Pittsburgh philanthropist who established The Buhl Foundation “for the well-being of the citizens of Pittsburgh and the County of Allegheny.” The foundation supports education, human services, youth programs, and economic development. It established Buhl Planetarium, the predecessor organization of Carnegie Science Center, in 1939.
Welcome to the NEW Buhl Planetarium! Equipment enhancements include:
- One giant leap from 4K to 8K resolution – A brand new Sony projection system will utilize 10 projectors to create a seamless, synchronized True8K high resolution image— at least 8,000 pixels across every full 180-degree arc on the dome. Crisp, bright stars will now pop against a rich, dark night sky.
- A brand-new canvas – Every single panel on Buhl Planetarium’s 50-foot-wide dome was removed and replaced with brand new Spitz NanoSeam panels, manufactured in Pennsylvania. This new Pierce Family Dome at Buhl Planetarium will provide a new canvas for the cosmos, now revealed in breathtaking True8K projection.
- More options, more adventures – The Evans & Sutherland Digistar 7 Software features an extensive library of planetary models, real-time 3D computer graphics, and a catalog that incorporates data from dozens of organizations all over the world to generate the most complete and accurate 3D atlas of the universe. Buhl Planetarium visitors will be able to travel to other stars and even exoplanets and fly through 3D digital nebulae based on volumetric data.
- Accessibility for people with hearing and visual impairments – The project will also improve its accessibility through a $32,000 grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). Buhl Planetarium will now provide assistive listening devices, as well as live-time closed captioning glasses that convert speech to scrolling text. Handheld star globes will provide tactile representations of the night sky, featuring stars and constellations in raised relief.
These new tools usher in a new era of planetarium shows and in-show options, including:
- Free flight – In select shows, audiences will fly over Martian canyons or through Saturn’s rings, piloted by a Buhl Planetarium educator with an Xbox controller. Visitors will soar from orbit into strikingly realistic planetary surfaces during live presentations and fly into valleys or through mountain ranges on the Earth, Moon, Mars, or any planet or moon in the Solar System, taking colorful geological journeys based on real data.
- Interactive voting system – Visitors can choose their own adventure through space or test their knowledge of space trivia with a new wireless, handheld, interactive voting system.
- Space news – Hungry for the latest space news? Data feeds from a host of astronomical observatories on Earth and in space will stream into the planetarium every day for instant dome display, incorporated into the planetarium’s daily shows.
- Coming soon – New full-dome movies available through the Evans & Sutherland Digistar library offer another fun-filled option for learning about space.
Experiences for you!
- Explore what the sky has in store for us this summer with our new Astronomical Calendar .
- Stargazers of all ages: catch a planetarium show to journey through space and time, and discover what it takes to be an astronaut!
- Dazzling lights and rockin’ beats merge for a spectacular sight and sound experience. Catch daily matinees or evening laser shows and get ready for awesome 3D atmospheric effects!
- Learn about globular clusters, nebulas, and planets when you see them with your own eyes. Come to SkyWatch at the Henry Buhl, Jr. Observatory to get an up-close look at amazing celestial objects.
- Learn more about the history of the Buhl Planetarium.
- Interested in astronomy? Visit our resources.
Visitors are invited to come one evening a month to the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium & Observatory and get up-close and personal with amazing celestial objects – rain or shine. All ages! Great date night.
“Solar Quest” is a full dome planetarium short feature that demonstrates how the Sun and Earth are interconnected and that we are “Living with a Star.”
The Buhl Planetarium equipment and dome upgrade, as well as an additional operational endowment, is made possible by a $1 million gift from The Buhl Foundation, $1 million from Bob and Joan Peirce, and additional donors in the Pittsburgh community. Fundraising for the first phase of the project was completed in 2019. Buhl Planetarium shows are presented by Green Mountain Energy.
Fundraising for phase two of the project, which includes new seats and carpet, will be underway soon.
Henry Buhl Jr. (1848 – 1927) was a Pittsburgh philanthropist who established The Buhl Foundation “for the well-being of the citizens of Pittsburgh and the County of Allegheny.” The foundation supports education, human services, youth programs, and economic development. It established Buhl Planetarium, the predecessor organization of Carnegie Science Center, in 1939.