This striking view of the New Mexico Museum of Space History at dawn was taken by area resident Jim Harris.
The final stage of renovations at the New Mexico Museum of Space’s New Horizons Dome Theater and Planetarium begins on January 2, 2018, when preparations begin to replace the dome inside the theater.
The theater is anticipated to be closed beginning January 2 through March 9 during construction.
According to representatives from Spitz, Inc., the company that will be handling the installation, the new dome will consist of 154 custom cut panels, each with numerous perforations. In fact, there will be approximately 27,131,904 perforations in those panels and if they were lined up in a straight line, the line would stretch for about 26.76 miles.
Another fun fact is that if the dome was turned upside down it could hold roughly 444, 346,865 M&Ms.
“As interesting as the fun facts are about the new dome, what’s really exciting is to see this final phase of our theater renovations starting,” said Museum Executive Director Christopher Orwoll. “Replacing the aging dome, which was installed in 1980, is quite a process. The new dome utilizes NanoSeam technology, which basically means you won’t be able to see any seams and the reflective surface will be significantly brighter than what we have now.”
Spitz Inc. is the same company that installed the new 4k laser planetarium projection system in the theater. The Spitz NanoSeam process effectively eliminates seams in the dome by hand crafting each individual panel flush to be flush with its neighbor, making the entire projection surface completely uniform.
“Each panel that makes up the dome is cut to a specific size and fitted perfectly,” said Orwoll. “This is quite a process and starts from the ground up.”
All the seats in the theater will be removed, some minor retrofitting of the existing theater cove will need to be done, and the old dome will be removed piece by piece. Then the team from Spitz will get to work carefully installing the new dome and LED lighting system.
The theater is expected to reopen in early March.