TWIN FALLS – November 19, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the College of Southern Idaho’s Faulkner Planetarium at the Herrett Center for Arts and Science. In November of 1995, there was quite a buzz throughout southern Idaho as the planetarium prepared to open as part of an expansion to the Herrett Center. The theater was opening with a state-of-the-art Digistar II (2) planetarium projection system from the Evans and Sutherland Corporation and numerous other projection systems and a sound system from Sky-Skan, Inc. The Faulkner was truly a world-class facility, capable of standing toe to toe with any theater in any city, worldwide. Today, the story remains the same, though projection systems have changed with time as technology has advanced.
A complete replacement of the theater’s operational systems; projection, sound, and lighting happened in 2013. The then state-of-the-art Digistar 5 fulldome projection system by E&S replaced the Digistar II and all of the obsolete slide projectors, special effects projectors, and video projectors. A new sound system, theater control system, and LED cove lighting from Bowen Technovation were installed to complete the upgrade and once again placed the Faulkner alongside the best planetariums in the world.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has seen the installation of a new E&S Digistar 6 projection system, upgrading the projectors to JVC laser-phosphor units offering better performance in the areas of brightness and contrast. The upgrade also brought better computing performance and new software capabilities. By early 2021, the planetarium’s Digistar software will be upgraded to the just released Digistar 7, offering even more capabilities.
Each year the Planetarium sees an average of roughly 20,000 guests, including school children on field trips. COVID-19 will likely drop attendance numbers for 2020, but the Planetarium has remained open to offer educational and entertainment programs to guests. To follow CDC recommendations seating has been limited to 30 guests per show and face masks are required. We look forward to a bright tomorrow, free of COVID-19, allowing us to once again welcome up to 144 guests per show. We also look forward to the next 25 years of the Faulkner Planetarium, bringing the wonders of our planet and the universe to you, and a little entertainment too.
Located in the Herrett Center for Arts and Science on the northeast corner of the College of Southern Idaho campus in Twin Falls, ID, the Faulkner Planetarium is Idaho’s premiere planetarium. Admission prices to planetarium shows are $6 adults (18 to 59), $5 seniors (60+), $4 children (2 to 17) and CSI students with a valid student ID, children under age two will be admitted free.
For more information on shows, including trailers and complete show schedules, visit the Herrett Center’s web page at http://herrett.csi.edu.