GOING DARK by Derrick Rohl, Sudekum Planetarium Manager


Choose from a spectacular, fulldome show in state-of-the-art Sudekum Planetarium; hands-on, interactive, science exhibits; or one of our award-winning programs like daily Science Live! demonstrations, 3D Printing Workshops, ScienceQuest Camps, Science Cafes, and other special events.

  800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203

 OPEN DAILY: Mon-Sun, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 CLOSED: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day

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Adventure Science Center Blog

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GOING DARK by Derrick Rohl, Sudekum Planetarium Manager

As always, we have grand plans in the works for the Sudekum Planetarium! Every now and then, we need to set aside a few days to set up something really special. Any guesses what it might be this time around?

Last year, we “went dark” as we removed our digital projectors from 2008 to install some brand new 4K beauties. It’s been over a year and we’re loving how they look. And we also love the stunning night sky coming from our optical star projector. So the projection systems are all staying put.

Is it the sound system? Nah – if you’ve heard our laser shows, you know our 13,000 watts of sound are in tip-top shape.

So, what else could it be?

Any time we close for a few days, we call it “going dark.” But this time… we mean it literally!

When we opened our current theater in 2008, we installed LED lighting in the cove around the base of the dome. You’ve probably noticed the gentle wash of color lighting up the room before or after shows. Those fixtures are now at the end of their lifespan. With advances in LED technology in the past 10 years, we forecast the new system will be 4-5x brighter than the theater’s current system!

We’ll try not to blind you… but just in case, you may want to keep those eclipse glasses handy. (Like these smart pups at our Music City Solar Eclipse Festival & Viewing Party back in August 2017.)

Not only will the new lighting feature brighter fixtures; it’s controlled by powerful software that will allow dynamic, animated effects with the lights. Picture sweeping waves of color all around you as you wait for the show to begin. Perhaps a gently morphing set of calming colors as you prepare for Yoga Under the Stars? Or maybe bursts of light pulsating with the music of a laser show. How about some multi-colored animated lights for your favorite holiday? The new system will open doors for beautiful, intricate effects across the dome. The possibilities are endless.

We’re also taking advantage of these work days to maintain the upholstery and finish on our seats. You’re welcome, rear ends of Nashville.

Our current facility, the Judith Payne Turner Theatre, is the third dome the Sudekum Planetarium has called home over the last 66 years. As you can continue to see, it just keeps getting better with time! A memorial document about Tony Sudekum hangs on the wall in the office. Part of it says:

As we think of Tony Sudekum, and how often we shall think of him, it will be ours to recall his kindly hand, his unspoiled simplicity, his unfailing generosity and helpfulness. Imbued with an unerring concept of stewardship, he gave freely of his means and of his unusual talents to the progress and well-being of his City and of his State and to his fellow citizens whose interests and ideals meant so much to him.

When you’ve visited the Sudekum Planetarium, you’ve probably noticed a painting of someone next to the entrance. That’s Tony! Wave hello next time you’re headed into the dome. His unfailing generosity has continued throughout the generations, and we can’t wait for you to see the theater when we re-open. Yet again, it’ll be the best it’s ever looked.

- Derrick Rohl, Sudekum Planetarium Manager

Posted by Molly Hornbuckle at 10:00 AM
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800 Fort Negley Blvd. Nashville, TN 37203
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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