Buhl Planetarium's Zeiss II projector shows the stars at night.

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

Planetarium Theater of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science

The Theater of the Stars

Including the Oldest Operable, Major Planetarium Projector in the World !

Buhl Planetarium's Zeiss II projector gives a wonderfully
accurate and realistic depiction of the night sky.

(Now, exhibit-only display at Carnegie Science Center)

Authored By Glenn A. Walsh
Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss

This Internet Web Page: < http://buhlplanetarium3.tripod.com/BuhlZeissII.htm >
Internet Web Cover Page: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Electronic Mail: < ZeissII@planetarium.cc >
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Oldest Planetarium ?

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

News of Buhl Planetarium

Laserium & Other Laser Shows at Buhl Planetarium

The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science opened to the public on October 24, 1939. Installed, in the new Theater of the Stars, was a Zeiss Model II Planetarium Projector, manufactured by Germany's Zeiss Optical Works. This was the newest in the series of star projectors, which had begun providing audiences with excellent depictions of the night sky in Germany in the mid-to-late 1920s. While Zeiss projectors throughout the world were replaced, over the years, Buhl continued using their tried-and-true Zeiss II projector.

With the 1991 construction of the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory, as part of The Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh's North Shore(of the Ohio River), it was decided to acquire a Digistar I projector in a 156-seat, one-direction, planetarium theater with a 50-foot diameter dome; a few years later the Digistar I was replaced with a Digistar II projector. Buhl's Zeiss II projector continued to be used, for Science Center classes, until February of 1994 when it was decided to move all classes to the main building. The City of Pittsburgh, which owns the Zeiss II projector, along with the Siderostat-type telescope, Buhl building and property, continue to seek a new tenant which will utilize the historic building. With the ability to lower the Zeiss II projector below floor level, the planetarium theater can be easily used for many other assemblages.

It is unclear whether any other Zeiss II projectors still exist or are still operable; however, the couple which did exist some years ago (one in Rome and one in Japan) had been extensively modified from their original manufacture; Buhl's projector has never been modified. Hence Buhl's Zeiss II instrument is now the oldest operating, major planetarium projector in the world!!! (More info.)

Earlier, Zeiss II projectors had been installed in the United States at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago on May 12, 1930, Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on November 6, 1933, Griffith Observatory and Planetarium on a high hill in Los Angeles' Griffith Park(above Hollywood) on May 15, 1935, and at the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium just west of New York City's Central Park on October 3, 1935(the original Hayden Planetarium has recently been razed, to make-way for a more modern planetarium facility due to be open in the year A.D. 2000). Buhl's Zeiss II projector became the fifth such projector to present shows in the United States. Eventually, the Buhl staff affectionately nicknamed this projector, "Jake;" this nickname was even used in the title of a children's planetarium show, "Jake's Magic Sky."

Jake would also become the last planetarium projector built, before World War II suspended the assembling of planetarium projectors; Buhl Planetarium's projector would also become the last Zeiss Model II ever constructed. Apparently, planetaria in The Hague and in Brussels had contracted for Zeiss projectors after Pittsburgh received the Buhl projector; however, these instruments were never delivered.

The Carl Zeiss Optical Works in Jena, Germany [which, during the Cold War, would be part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany)] was converted to manufacturing bomb-sights for German military aircraft and tanks during World War II. The city of Jena was bombed by the Allies, particularly the U.S. 8th Air Force, several times throughout the War. The last bombardment in the Spring of 1945 did substantial damage to Carl Zeiss Jena facilities.

Buhl's Theater of the Stars provided courses in Celestial Navigation to American military pilots, bound for service in World War II.

It was not until the mid-1950s that another Zeiss planetarium projector(newer model called a Zeiss IV) would be produced. It is interesting to note that during the Cold War, two "Zeiss" optical companies existed--one in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and one in the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)!

Although, after Buhl opened, no other Zeiss projector was manufactured until the 1950s, a Zeiss II planetarium started operation on the main campus of the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, on May 10, 1949. This projector, which had begun presenting sky shows in a planetarium in Stockholm on May 15, 1930, was sold to the University of North Carolina, after World War II, for the University's new Morehead Planetarium. It is unknown whether the planetarium building in Stockholm, which boasted an 80-foot diameter planetarium dome, still stands.

One smaller star theater opened in October of 1937, two years before Buhl opened, and it continues in operation to this day. Dr. Frank D. Korkosz and his brother John Korkosz constructed a projector, for the Seymour Planetarium, between 1934 and 1937. Although known as Seymour Planetarium, the projector used is really a stellarium, which only projects stars. The projector includes no features to display the much more complex motions of the planets visible to the naked-eye.

The Seymour Planetarium is located in Springfield, Massachusetts, part of the Springfield Science Museum which celebrated its centennial in the Autumn of 1999. While Zeiss II planetarium projectors use two hemispheres(star balls) to accurately represent the stars that can be viewed in Earth's northern and southern hemispheres, respectively, the Korkosz Projector has only one hemisphere. According to Richard Sanderson, Curator of Physical Science at the Springfield Science Museum, the 3-foot-diameter star-ball projects 7,150 stars, and the night-sky simulated by the Korkosz projector is very realistic. Mr. Sanderson also states that, although a portion of the southern stars is obscured by the base of the star-ball, the problem isn't as great as it might seem. Dr. Korkosz designed the ball to ride on a semi-circular saddle. This allows the latitude control to tip it almost up-side-down. The Southern Cross is visible, but a small section of sky surrounding the South Celestial Pole is obscured. The planetarium also contains a precessional axis.

Another small planetarium, which apparently no longer exists, was constucted, by 1930, by the Rosecrucians for their museum in San Jose, California. It is claimed that this instrument was the first American planetarium.

The Buhl Planetarium theater, known for many years as "The Theater of the Stars," is one of the larger(but not the largest) planetarium theaters. The planetarium dome has a diameter of 65 feet; click here to learn more about the construction of this dome. The theater was designed to seat 500 people, however, Pittsburgh's Fire Marshal restricted the capacity to 490 [as indicated on a notice posted at the main entrance (in the small vestibule between the two sets of double-doors) to the Theater of the Stars. As years passed, the seating capacity of the theater declined. First, this was due to the erection of a much larger control console, to operate many more auxillary projectors in the coves, at the bottom of the planetarium dome. Once laser-light shows started being presented in the theater, on 1977 July 14, more seats were removed to make room for the laser projector; as newer laser projectors were installed, a few more seats would be taken out of the theater. By the 1980s, permanent seating in the planetarium theater was 381. Portable seats(specifically purchased for the planetarium theater), used quite regularly for school groups(particularly during the Spring months which most teachers favored for field trips to Buhl) and during the busy "Railroad Season," when the very popular Miniature Railroad and Village would be on display, as well as the annual showing of the historic "The Star of Bethlehem" (sometimes titled "The Christmas Star") planetarium show during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's holidays, boosted planetarium theater seating to 425-430.

Buhl's Zeiss II was the first planetarium projector to be placed on an elevator; Westinghouse built this huge worm-gear elevator, in 1939. This gave additional flexibility to enhance the performances. Worm-gear elevators of this size are rare. Engineers visiting Buhl have often requested to see the actual elevator equipment and are amazed at the size of the four worm-gears.

Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars was the first planetarium theater built with a stage, specifically for theatrical performances. This was the brainchild of Buhl's first Planetarium Director, Dr. James Stokley. Before coming to Buhl, he was Planetarium Director of Fels Planetarium at Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where a temporary stage was constructed in the dome, each Christmas Season, to allow a short presentation relevant to their annual "The Star of Bethlehem" sky drama.

The Buhl main stage can actually be extended into the planetarium theater on two tracks; originally, this was accomplished using electric motors. Various performances have been presented, over the years, on this stage.

This includes a special two-part performance of a play about the Italian Astronomer Galileo Galilei. "Galileo" by Bertolt Brecht was performed from June 18 through August 2, 1981 using the theatrical stage in Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. This was a collaboration with the Pittsburgh Public Theater.

The first part of this play was performed in the Hazlett Theatre (the Pittsburgh Public Theater's original venue; the Theater now performs in the O'Reily Theater in the Downtown Cultural District) of the world's first Carnegie Hall, adjacent to America's first publicly-funded Carnegie Library (Andrew Carnegie grew-up on Pittsburgh's North Side, which was then known as Allegheny City, Pennsylvania), next-door to the original Buhl Planetarium. The second part of the performance took place in Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars, on the theatrical stage.

As part of Buhl's annual "The Star of Bethlehem" Christmas star show (sometimes called "The Christmas Star," and one year titled, "The Star of Bethelehem Revisited"), a short stage performance was given. In the middle of the planetarium show, the stage curtain would open, and a gentleman, in costume from Christ's era, would point to the Chrisstmas Star displayed on the dome and tell part of the Christmas story--from the Gospel of Saint Matthew and the Gospel of Saint. Luke. Primarily, he would tell the story of the Magi.

Although the audience heard the story, the person on stage was not speaking--only lip-synching (sort-of). Actually, the person on stage only needed to move his lips a little and move his arms, and perhaps get up from his chair and walk a little on the stage. The theater was so dark, and the stage was so far away from most of the audience, they could not tell his lips did not match the words they were hearing. Many Buhl staff members (including volunteers) portrayed this gentleman on stage, during the Christmas star show; and, this included many of our female staff. Again, with the elaborate costume, most audience members could not tell a female was actually playing the role. In addition to the costume, some staff members would also put on a beard for greater realism. Many staff members refused to wear the beard, for public health reasons. The Buhl staff loved playing the role of this gentleman on stage, who they affectionately nicknamed Saint Luke!

The theatrical stage in the Buhl Planetarium dome was also used throughout the year for special events, such as the annual Foreign Language Festival, when high school classes with students studying foreign languages would come to Buhl Planetarium to see sky shows in the language they were studying.

And, as Buhl Planetarium also included the world's first planetarium projector to be mounted on an elevator, this allowed the creation of a second, smaller stage, which could be used when the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was lowered into the Zeiss Pit. This second stage was used infrequently, including for "The Last Rubber Spider Auction" in October of 1982, where a lot of Buhl memorabilia was auctioned-off, by Pittsburgh television news personalities, to publicize Buhl's "modernization" from "The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science" to the newer name: "Buhl Science Center;" and, of course, it also brought-in some money for Buhl operations.

"The Last Rubber Spider Auction" took its name from a very popular product sold at the Buhl Planetarium Gift Counter, and beginning in late 1982 at the new and much larger Buhl Planetarium Gift Shop, called The Discovery Shop. In fact, little rubber spiders were the most popular product purchased at the Buhl Planetarium Gift Counter/Shop, primarily bought by young students on school field trips! As part of the "modernization" from Buhl Planetarium to Buhl Science Center, Buhl management felt that the gift shop should concentrate on more scientificly-related products, despite the high quantity of sales of little rubber spiders. Hence, the name, "The Last Rubber Spider Auction," was used to signify this "modernization," as well as to sell-off the remaining little rubber spiders.

In 1939, it was the first planetarium theater(and, perhaps, the first theater!) to install a special sound system specifically for the use of the hearing-impaired. Both air-conduction and bone-conduction headsets were available(for a one dollar, returnable, deposit fee) for the use of hearing-impaired, Sky Show attendees.

Like many early planetaria, the local skyline was etched into the bottom of the planetarium dome. For Buhl, which is located on Pittsburgh's North Side a little less than a mile from the city's Golden Triangle(Downtown), the part of the dome which usually displays the southern sky(actually opposite the true north, due to the way the building and theater were constructed) had an etching of the Downtown skyline from 1939. By the 1950s, Pittsburgh was undergoing a building boom(known as "Renaissance I") which radically altered the Downtown skyline. Eventually, Buhl removed a small section of the bottom part of the dome(around the entire 360 degrees) so the obsolete skyline would no longer be visible; panarama views of the city, as viewed from Buhl, were projected onto the dome from then on. However, there is at least one spot on the dome, today, where the very top of the old skyline(probably the pryramid top of the 44-story Gulf Building) can be seen. The former headquarters of the Gulf Oil Corporation, which was constructed in the late 1920s, includes a weather beacon at the top of the pryamid, which still uses orange and blue neon lights to flash a weather forecast for the next six hours; the Buhl dome did not simulate this weather beacon.

Dim green lights, showing the cardinal points in the planetarium(N for north, S for south, E for east, and W for west), are lighted during planetarium shows. Although the southern sky is normally opposite the control console (just above the main theatrical stage of the theater, and, actually north of the control console), the green lights were arranged so this could be either north or south; of course, the other cardinal point displays also have two choices.

Buhl Planetarium Directors

Four Planetarium Directors managed Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium, during its operation as a public museum from 1939 to 1991:

1939 to 1940: James S. Stokley, Ph.D.
1940 to 1967: Arthur L. Draper (Mr. Draper passed-away while serving as Planetarium Director)
1967 to 1991: Paul Oles (Paul J. Olejniczak)
1991: Martin Ratcliffe (Mr. Ratcliffe continued as Planetarium Director of the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory, The Carnegie Science Center, until the late 1990s)

1991 to 1994: David E. Chesebrough, Ed.D. - Assistant Director of the Allegheny Square Annex (name given to original Buhl Planetarium building, 1991 to 1994), The Carnegie Science Center, which was the tutorial center where Carnegie Science Center Science and Computer classes (including Astronomy classes in the original Buhl Planetarium Theater of the Stars and Observatory) were taught, until these classes were consolidated into the new Science Center building in February of 1994 and the Allegheny Square Annex was abandoned. During this time period, Martin Ratcliffe also oversaw the operation of the original Buhl Planetarium Theater of the Stars.

First Planetarium Lecturers - 1939 October 24:

Leo J. Scanlon - Co-founder, Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh (1929); Founder of first Astronomical Observatory (Valley View Observatory, personal observatory in Summer Hill section of Pittsburgh's North Side) which utilized an all-aluminum dome (1930).
Nicholas E. Wagman - Director, Allegheny Observatory

Two World Records

Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium also has a legitimate claim to two "world records;" one of these world records is shared with the McFerson Planetarium of the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio, before the McFerson Planetarium was mothballed indefinitely after Labor Day in 2004. The origin of these claims came on 2006 September 27 (19:47:18 CDST) when Kris McCall, Director ot the Sudekum Planetarium in Nashville, asked the following question on the Planetarians' Listserver ("Dome-L") --

--- Kris McCall wrote:
To: "dome-l"
From: "Kris McCall"
Subject: Dome-L: world record
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 19:47:18 -0500

> Is there a world record for showing planetarium
> shows continuously, back
> to back? If any facility has done such a marathon,
> how long did it run?
>
> Kris McCall
> Sudekum Planetarium
> Nashville, TN

1) World record for showing planetarium shows continuously, back-to-back:

Due to very heavy demand, Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium found it necessary to show continuous, back-to-back planetarium shows, during the very busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weeks in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During days of these weeks, when schools were out-of-session and visitors were in Pittsburgh from out-of-town, Buhl Planetarium experienced its heaviest visitation of the year, with thousands of people visiting the institution each day. Hence, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, on thise heavy visitation days, Buhl Planetarium shows were scheduled every hour, on-the-hour, from 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m.

Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars, at this time, had a seating capacity of 425 (65-foot diameter stainless-steel dome), including 375 permanent seats [for many years, the Planetarium Theater had 381 permanent seats until the installation of a new laser concert projector, by Laser Fantasy International (LFI), which required the removal of some permanent seats]. Although not every seat was filled during every performance of a heavy visitation day, most shows were filled to capacity, particularly the shows in the middle of the day.

Some times there was a break in the "marathon" when no show was shown at 6:00 p.m. And, some days there was a holiday-themed laser show shown one hour in the afternoon instead of the planetarium show. However, there were definitely certain days when the main planetarium show was shown, back-to-back, from 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m., every hour on-the-hour including the 7:00 p.m. show. And, although most of the time a 6:00 p.m. show was not scheduled, due to the crowds the 6:00 p.m. show was often added, anyway.

The sky drama being performed during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays was the very popular "The Star of Bethlehem." This show lasted about 45 minutes, with 15 minutes to reset the show (and, of course, with the original Buhl Planetarium using a traditional electro-mechanical projector, set-up was not as easy as it is today with digital planetaria). There were some days, particularly Saturdays and Sundays, when a special children's planetarium showld be scheduled at either 11:00 a.m. or 12:00 Noon during this period. However the rest of the days "The Star of Bethlehem" would be shown during every performance.

The original Buhl Planetarium included the world's first permanent theatrical stage in a planetarium (and, using electric motors, this stage actually expanded into the Theater of the Stars, when needed!). So, "The Star of Bethlehem" included a live stage segment, where, for about five minutes, a staff member would portray "St. Luke" telling the audience the Christmas story. Although the staff member on stage was "live," he (or sometimes she!) would lip-synch the pre-recorded monologue. The staff members enjoyed getting in costume and performing this short theatrical skit each holiday season.

So, on certain days [the very busiest days such as "Black Friday" (day after Thanksgiving Day, which was sometimes the busiest day of the year at The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science) and a couple days after Christmas Day] during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weeks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium did present "The Star of Bethlehem" sky drama, back-to-back, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.--a total of 10 sky shows per day!

Buhl Planetarium maintained this world record, alone, until the day after Thanksgiving in 2002 (2002 November 29) when this world record was equaled by the McFerson Planetarium of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio. According to Mike Smail, who then worked for the McFerson Planetarium (and, who is now employed with the Pennington Planetarium of the Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge), on the day after Thanksgiving in 2002, and in 2003, (when 8,000 - 10,000 people visited COSI each day) planetarium shows were offered, back-to-back, every hour on the half-hour from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. One year the McFerson Planetarium ran the Loch Ness Company show, "Season of Light;" the other year their own production, the "Sky Tonight," was shown. Regrettably, the McFerson Planetarium was mothballed indefinitely immediately after Labor Day in 2004.

2) World record for continuous, back-to-back, public performances in a planetarium:

In addition to the eight or ten back-to-back planetarium showsformed each day during the holiday periods, laser-light concerts were also performed in Buhl Planetarium on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, beginning at 8:00 p.m. following the last planetarium showthe day (7:00 p.m. sky show). And, on Friday and Saturday nights, these laser shows would continue until 12:45 a.m.!

On Friday and Ssturday nights, hour-long laser shows were scheduled at 8:00 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and 11:45 p.m. As with the planetarium shows minutes were alloted, between shows, for setting for the next show.

So, on Friday and Saturday nights during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weeks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium did present continuous public performances, back-to-back, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.--a total of 14 shows per day!

Buhl Planetarium maintained this world record until 2007 January 7, when the record was exceeded by a 32-hour " Planetarium Marathon," including both planetarium and laser-light shows, sponsored by the Sudekum Planetarium, of the Adventure Science Center in Nashville. This marathon marked the end of public planetarium shows performed at the Sudekum Planetarium, which will now be demolished and replaced by a new, enlarged Planetarium and Sky and Space Wing of the Adventure Science Center. The new Sudekum Planetarium is scheduled to open to the public, with a 160-seat capacity (compared to the current seating capacity of 116), in 2008 May; the full Sky and Space Wing of the Adventure Science Center should be completed by the Spring of 2009.

Schedule of 32-hour planetarium marathon of planetarium and laser shows
at Sudekum Planetarium, Nashville, 2007 January 6 to 7.

Two news articles regarding planetarium marathon, from The Tennessean newspaper
in Nashville, both phblished 2007 January 4:
Planetarium shows more than 30 hours of programs By Molly Reed, Staff Writer
ASTRONOMY Sudekum Planetarium Show Marathon By Will Ayers

Planetarium Sky Dramas at Pittsburgh's Original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science -
The Sky Shows

Historic "The Star of Bethlehem" Planetarium Sky Drama at Buhl Planetarium

"The Theater of the Stars" - Buhl's Planetarium Theater & the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector-

Description and other information - Aide's Book, Copy 8, pages 13, 14, 50, and 51.

Description and other information - Aide's Reference Manual February 28, 1983, pages 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Detailed information regarding America's first Zeiss II Planetarium Projector operated at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago from 1930 to 1969, from the 1933 book, Adler Planetarium and Astronomical Museum, An Account of the Optical Planetarium and a Brief Guide to the Museum by Philip Fox, Adler's first Planetarium Director:
Pages 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26.

Information Regarding the Construction of Buhl Planetarium's Dome

Photographs of the Zeiss Mark II Planetarium Projector -

Image 1 *** Image 2 *** Image 3 *** Image 4

Photographs of the Zeiss Mark II Planetarium Projector from postcards sold at the Buhl Planetarium Gift Shop:

Image 1 *** Image 2

Color photograph of the Zeiss Mark II Planetarium Projector. (5)

Color photograph of the Zeiss II with sunset clouds in the background. (5)

Color photograph of the Zeiss II, during a dark portion of a sky show. (5)

Color photograph of the Zeiss II projector from the 2002 April 4 issue of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Standing in the background of this photograph are Pittsburgh City Councilman (later Pittsburgh Mayor) Bob O'Connor (who passed-away during first year as Mayor) and Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Executive Director Jane Werner. This photograph was taken during City Council's tour of the original Buhl Planetarium building, as they were considering the disposition of historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts. A black-and-white version of this photograph was published the next day in USA Today.

Color photograph of the Zeiss II projector on the cover of 2001 February 21 issue of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

The Zeiss II projector pictured during a performance, from the cover of the Buhl-produced booklet,
Theater of the Stars:

Small Image *** Large Image

Zeiss II Projector in Zeiss Elevator Pit - Buhl's Zeiss II projector was the first planetarium projector in the world to be placed on an elevator, to allow greater flexibility in the planetarium theater. The rather unique "worm gear" elevator uses four huge worm gears to lower and raise the projector. Due to its rather unique nature, engineers visiting Buhl would often ask to be taken to the elevator pit to see this elevator. This elevator was constructed by Pittsburgh's Westinghouse Electric Corporation, at the time of the Zeiss projector's original installation in early 1939. When moving between the Zeiss Pit(located in a special machinery room, encircled by Buhl Planetarium's public Octagon Gallery in the Lower Level) and the Theater of the Stars, this elevator moves at a speed of ten feet per minute.

Photograph *** Photograph with Caption

Photograph with News Article from The Sky Magazine, 1940 January

Zeiss II Control Console -
** Photograph of Francis G. Graham, Founder of the American Lunar Society and long-time Buhl Planetarium Lecturer, standing in front of the control console for the Zeiss II Projector in September of 1982. (5)
** Photograph of Dr. Nicholas E. Wagman (former Allegheny Observatory Director), who was one of the first two Buhl Planetarium Lecturers (the other being Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh Co-Founder Leo J. Scanlon), standing in front of the control console of the Zeiss II Projector. (5)

Photographs: "Technician Glenn Cochenour sets projector for Christmas sky show."
"Cochenour adjusts the wiring for Planetarium's star show."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1966 Dec. 8.
Photographs of Buhl Planetarium's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector.

Long-time Buhl Planetarium Technician James Hughes is pictured in costume, in front of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, on Halloween evening in 1983, at the conclusion of the evening's planetarium show and before the Laserium Laser-Light Concert (5).

Buhl Planetarium visitor John Daniel Potemra (then of the McKeesport suburb of Versailles Borough) stands outside at the visitors' entrance to The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (then known as the Buhl Science Center), on 1983 September 24 (5). He stands beside a large sign, mounted between the two visitor doors (at that time, recently converted from the original two revolving doors to two large glass doors, to provide accessibility to the disabled), which advertises some of the major attractions in the building including the "Pixel-Paint Pots" artistic touch computer, Computers [in the Computer Learning Lab (CLL)], "BioCorner" Chick-Hatching Exhibit, Planetarium Sky Shows, Laserium Laser-Light Concerts, and Demonstrations and Lectures.

Photographs of the Zeiss II projector from "Save the Buhl" Internet Web Site

News of Buhl Planetarium

Walsh, Glenn A. "Laserium: 40th Anniversary." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2013 Nov. 19.
2013 November 19 marks the 40th anniversary of the musical concert set to laser lights known as Laserium, once seen in many planetaria worldwide, including Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center). As Laserium is considered the first on-going laser show that was not part of a special or one-time event, it is also thought that Laserium launched the international laser display industry.

* Walsh, Glenn A. "1938 Fireball Explosion Over W PA Remembered." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2013 March 11.
About 6 p.m. June 24, 1938, a huge fireball exploded over the small borough of Chicora, Pennsylvania. At first, the commotion was thought to have been caused by an explosion in a nearby building used to store gunpowder.
Had it progressed closer to Earth before exploding, note the studies, it would have destroyed much of nearby Pittsburgh and resulted in very few survivors. (Special Note: When this event happened, Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science was under construction, in the center of the North Side's business district.)
The fist-size meteor fragments were split into two collections, one set going to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the other to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

* Walsh, Glenn A. "Preservation? Buhl Planetarium & Schenley High School." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2013 Feb. 21.
Although the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector is now on display at The Carnegie Science Center, it no longer does what is does best: a second-to-none, realistic depiction of the planets and stars in the night sky. The 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope and most other artifacts remain in storage, benefiting no one.

* Walsh, Glenn A. "Buhl Planetarium Poem by Ann Curran." Blog Posting.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 May 3.
Poem "At the Late Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science," written by Pittsburgh Poet and
former Buhl Planetarium employee Ann Curran, who held a poetry reading at the Main Branch of
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on 2012 April 15.
Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars remembrance in poem.

* Smith, Pohla. "Star projector returns to the spotlight at Pittsburgh's science center."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2010 July 14.
* Smith, Pohla. "Facts about the Zeiss Model II Star Projector."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2010 July 14.
* Walsh, Glenn A. "Zeiss II Projector Exhibit at CSC." Electronic Mail Group Message.
Friends of the Zeiss Mail-Group 2010 July 10.
* "Zeiss Star Projector shines in new exhibition at Science Center."
The South Pittsburgh Reporter 2010 July 6.
* Mitchell, Ellen. "Old Buhl Planetarium's projector still draws fans."
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2010 July 2: B3.
* Walsh, Glenn A. "Zeiss Projector Exhibit Opens at CSC." Electronic Mail-Group Message.
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Mail-Group 2010 July 1.
* "Old Star Projector Part of Science Center Exhibit." Video News Report.
KDKA-TV 2, Pittsburgh 2010 July 1.
(Search KDKA-TV 2 video library, at this link, using search terms "star projector".)
* "Carnegie Science Center PRESENTS Iconic Zeiss Star Projector
in New Historic Exhibition."
News Release.
The Carnegie Science Center 2010 June 30.
Display of historic Buhl Planetarium Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, in Carnegie Science Center
Atrium Gallery, begins 2010 July 1.


Oldest Planetarium ?

Zeiss Planetarium Projectors in the World, Prior to 1950

Photograph of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago: 1930

Photograph of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at the Fels Planetarium, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia: 1947 July

Other Planetarium History Links


"The People's Observatory" - Buhl's Astronomical Observatory

"Friends of the Zeiss" Internet Web Site

"Save the Buhl" Internet Web Site and their Zeiss II Projector Page

Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory at
The Carnegie Science Center

See Telescope, Newtonian Non-usable Replica.

See Astronomy Exhibits - Hallway Wrapping Around Theater of the Stars.

See Astronomy Exhibits - Astronomical Observatory Transparencies.


Authored By Glenn A. Walsh
Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss

This Internet Web Page: < http://buhlplanetarium3.tripod.com/BuhlZeissII.htm >
Internet Web Cover Page: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Electronic Mail: < ZeissII@planetarium.cc >

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh



Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web page is not affiliated with the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, or The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute.

This Internet, World Wide Web Site administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Unless otherwise indicated, all web pages in this account are --
(C)Copyright 1999-2002, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
Additions and corrections to: ZeissII@planetarium.cc

Last modified : Sunday, 29-Dec-2013 23:32:50 EST.