110 South 400 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
The Clark Planetarium opened on 11 April 2003 and is located in The Gateway shopping center on the west side of downtown Salt Lake City. The $19 million planetarium was built as a replacement for the aging Hansen Planetarium at 15 South State Street. The new facility was named for the late Sheila M. Clark after a $1 million donation from the Clark Foundation.
The Clark Planetarium features Utah's first IMAX theater, the world's first digital star theatre, a display of planets, a recreation of the lunar and Martian landscapes, a science shop, weather display, and other exhibits.
The screen in the ATK IMAX Theatre is 70 feet wide by 50 feet tall and has a “brushed aluminum” surface for high reflectivity. The projector in the dust-proof projection booth is the size of a small car and uses a 7,000-watt lamp. IMAX 3D movies have separate reels of film for each eye. Moviegoers wear polarized glasses so that each eye sees a separate view, which the brain then combines into a three-dimensional image. A 40 minute movie uses 7 miles of film, with each reel weighing 600 to 700 pounds. The 281-seat IMAX theater has a seven-channel, 12,000-watt sound system with at least 40 speakers, including a 2,000-watt sub-woofer. The first IMAX film to play at the Clark Planetarium was "Space Station," narrated by Tom Cruise.
The Hansen Star Theatre, or Digital Dome, has 201 seats with sloped stadium-style seating. The screen is a 55-foot tilted dome, which provides an unobstructed view for star shows. The Digistar projection system uses a pit-less design so there is nothing in the middle of the room.
Between the two theaters is the 'Parade of Planets', a display of correct scale sized models of all the planets in the solar system. The Clark Planetarium also has a room that recreates the lunar and Martian landscapes.
1. "Stellar facility opens today", Deseret News, 11 April 2003, page B1
2. "'Sail' to take Utahns into depths of space", Deseret News, 11 March 2003, page B1