Fujitsu Planetarium launches new laser system


The Fujitsu Planetarium launched a new projection laser system to the public in a series of live musical laser shows on Saturday, Jan. 13.  The new equipment consists of three separate lasers which are three watts each and cost an undisclosed amount of money.  The planetarium’s technical director, Toshi Komatsu, said, “They’re brighter, they have better contrast, and they’re more efficient than our previous laser projectors.”

These new lasers were installed at the planetarium over the holiday, replacing equipment which had been in use since 2003.  The new equipment allows the laserist to change the textures, colors and graphics in the live show.  “Before, we only had an all-analog system ,and now it’s completely digitized,” said Robert Pickford, a laserist for the planetarium.

Fujitsu Planetarium’s relaunch featured two separate live shows on opening day.  The first was a Michael Jackson projection laser show which was met with cheers and applause from the audience. The second show, based on Pink Floyd’s music, was so highly anticipated the line filed out of the building. Komatsu said that the planetarium has about 35,000 visitors each year.

Chris Hersey, a planetarium visitor, said, “It’s a unique experience to sit under the dome with laser lights.”  Several attendees brought their whole family to watch the show.  In a live poll conducted before the show, most visitors said they had been referred to the show by a friend.

There are optional glasses which look like 3-D glasses but instead break up the light and creates a fraction grading to make the laser lights appear different. Regarding the glasses, “Some people like it, some people don’t,” said Robert Pickford.

The next laser show is scheduled to be to Journey’s music and take place Saturday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. followed by a Queen show at 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy The Fujitsu Planetarium
New lasers gives different textures to the lights during the show.



Photo by Rebecca Arnone
The Fujitsu Planetarium projector ready before the laser show starts on Saturday, Jan. 13.