|Morrison Planetarium staff
under the dome.
Morrison Planetarium opens to become the seventh major planetarium
in the U.S. Its first Director is George Bunton, formerly
with the Griffith Observatory.
Capt. Robert D. Risser, U.S.N. (Ret.), former Director of
the Kirkpatrick Planetarium in Oklahoma City, comes to Morrison
Planetarium. He introduces the first planetarium concerts.
Lee Simon, a research astronomer at Northwestern University,
comes to Morrison from Chicagos Adler Planetarium. He
initiates the first curriculum-based school shows and upgrades
the theater using income from Laserium shows.
Steven B. Craig, a staff member since 1960, is appointed Chair
of Morrison Planetarium and implements automation of the 31
year-old star projector.
The Hume Observatory is built at Pepperwood, the Academys
nature preserve in Sonoma County. Trustee William J. Humes
interest in the 1986 return of Halleys Comet helps fund
Biology | Botany
Planetarium | Presenting the Universe
Over San Francisco
Morrison Planetariums 65-foot dome is a great place to learn
about the night sky. Original star-shows are produced
in-house with special effects created by dedicated planetarium technicians.
Planetarium educators and lecturers help visitors explore up-to-the-minute
Amounts of Data
Figuring out which stars go where fell to Staff Astronomer
Leon E. Salanave, who developed a computer program to plot star placement.
A catalog of IBM computer cards for the 33,342 brightest stars was
purchased. Using magnitude 5.79 for the dimmest star, 3,800 stars
were selected. Those 3,800 IBM star cards were sorted into 32 starfields
that make up the entire projected sky.
It took Frances Rete Greeby six months to place 3800 grains
of carborundum (a sand-like abrasive) on the flat surfaces of 32 condenser
lenses, using a custom built, traversing microscope. When completed,
a layer of vaporized aluminum was deposited, giving each flat surface
an opaque, mirrored finish. The carborundum was then carefully brushed
off, leaving tiny holes through which light could shine. The irregular
shape of each carborundum grain produced irregular star images for
a realistic night sky.
The 6.4 refracting telescope won an award at the 1876 Philadelphia
Centennial Exposition prior to purchase by Academy President George
Davidson. The lens, by Alvan Clarke, is in original condition.