The Naval Hill Planetarium is presently the only digital planetarium in South Africa. Planetarium patrons come from vastly diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. In order to make pre-rendered shows (typically produced in developed countries in the northern hemisphere) accessible and relevant, we need to produce supporting full dome planetarium content and translate existing content so that we have at least two full dome films in two indigenous languages which include Sesotho. We also need to develop our own original content.
The project will focus on developing new content that will be culturally relevant and speak to the needs of the local population and also focus on Southern African astronomical projects of international stature. In addition, the project will ensure that we develop the capacity (human resources) to produce our own content in the future, thereby making us less reliant on very expensive licenses, and keeping our planetarium offerings fresh. The Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town will soon be upgraded to house a similar digital planetarium projection system as that of the Naval Hill Planetarium. Thus, any planetarium content that we develop that appeals to the South African context has the potential to be used in the Iziko Planetarium as well as our planetarium. We have for example already produced an Afrikaans sound track for the ESO full dome film From the Earth to the Universe. Staff from the Iziko Planetarium indicated that they will find this very useful. The next step, as part of this project, is to produce a Sesotho and possibly also a Xhosa sound track for this film.