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Henry W. Ray Special Experience Room and Planetarium

433 Centennial Road
Warminster, PA 18974

215-441-6000

The SER originally opened in 1969 as a combination multimedia theater/planetarium. To accommodate this multiple purpose, the planetarium star projector, usually mounted permanently in the center of the planetarium, was constructed on a elevator so that the Spitz STP star projector could be lowered completely out of the theater when not in use.

In its stowed position, the star projector was completely hidden by two trap doors which were flush to the floor when closed. It is believed that this was the first school planetarium in the world to utilize an elevator in this manner. Unlike most planetarium theaters, the Special Experience Room was built with no permanent seating arrangement. Chairs were arranged in a variety of formations, depending upon the type of presentation being given. For most lessons, ordinary class room chairs were arranged on three levels of risers which faced one half of the theater. In this configuration, approximately 45 students could be accommodated for a typical planetarium lesson.

SciDome During the summer of 2006, several improvements were made to the theater. A digital imaging system, capable of projecting full-dome video on to the theater's 12.2-meter dome, was added to the theater in August. The new SciDome projector replaced our aging optical star projector, which was removed during the summer of 2008. In order to provide the best possible viewing experience, sixty-five permanent theater-type seats have been installed. The front third of the theater, however, remains open so that the flexibility of the SER can be maintained. In addition, a computer ­­controlled LED lighting system was installed to allow more precise control over the lighting conditions used in the theater.

Images provided by AmericanTowns.com, Ticketmaster
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