ann22009 — Announcement

Astrophotographer Creates Planetarium Show About the Gemini South Telescope

New 8k fulldome show showcases the night sky from NSF’s NOIRLab's southern hemisphere location

21 March 2022

A unique fulldome planetarium show starring the international Gemini Observatory, a program of NSF’s NOIRLab, has been released today. Produced by Kwon O Chul, a world-renowned astrophotographer from South Korea, Gemini Observatory and the Southern Sky takes the viewer on a journey from sunset to sunrise through the zodiacal light, the Milky Way, several constellations, galaxies, nebulae, and meteor showers. The show was shot from Cerro Pachón in Chile, home to the 8.1-meter Gemini South telescope.

Kwon’s goal is to help people feel the wonder of the night sky, and he creates planetarium shows using real imagery for backgrounds, which he shoots during his astrophotography travels. Most planetarium shows today, even those featuring real objects and locations, largely rely on computer-generated images and renders for the final product.

Kwon made one of the first virtual reality videos of the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, and his second show Cosmos Odyssey was about the history of astronomy. For that project, Kwon visited world famous observatories including Gemini Observatory. 

This year, major distributors of planetarium content will start distributing Gemini Observatory and the Southern Sky. A 3-minute, free excerpt of some of the exceptional footage is available in 8k resolution on the NOIRLab website.

More information

NSF’s NOIRLab(National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the International Gemini Observatory(a facility of NSFNRC–CanadaANID–ChileMCTIC–BrazilMINCyT–Argentina, and KASI–Republic of Korea), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory(operated in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s SLACNational Accelerator Laboratory). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawai‘i, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O'odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.



Amanda Kocz
NSF’s NOIRLab Communications 
T: +1 520 318 8591

Zane Landers
Communications Intern
T: +1 203 895 7426

About the Announcement



Poster for the planetarium show Gemini Observatory and the Southern Sky
Poster for the planetarium show Gemini Observatory and the Southern Sky
A Starry Night Sky above Gemini South
A Starry Night Sky above Gemini South


Gemini South 8k fulldome sequences
Gemini South 8k fulldome sequences