Newtonian Projection Systems

Newtonian-3 Projection System

ePlanetarium is delighted to announce the NEW Newtonian-3™ mirror system from Avela!

Although it superficially looks like the previous Newtonian 1 and 2 (the first ever dual-mirror system), it has been completely re-engineered for ease of use.

  • Lighter: The new top is vacuform, with clips (not screws) to hold the convex Go-Vex mirror. The base is laser cut metal for strength, powder coated for durability. Net is TWENTY POUNDS LIGHTER and yet stronger!
  • Easier to Use: The system is now ONLY ONE UNIT. The secondary tucks away below the projector platform for quick, safe, usage and storage. No screws needed to set up!
  • More projectors can be used: The new base is flat, allowing larger and taller projectors to be used. The mirror has a higher clearance, again allowing more projectors to be used.

The Newtonian-3™ from Avela is the featured optical part of "Discovery Dome" portable system. (Each package includes a mated laptop, projector, projection software, and sound system). Together the entire projection system package runs for "a penny a pixel". When you compare with other systems, don't just look at the pixels of their projector - compare the pixels actually projected, ease of use, and portability!

Newtonian-3 Projection System closed

A Newtonian mirror systems is a low-cost, easily portable projection alternative to fisheye systems. It is compact and lightweight - designed for portable systems, and is a perfect solution for small planetariums who want to keep their existing mechanical-optical star projector and offer digital movie content. The special front-surface mirror is protected for travel by the integrated case. When opened, a secondary mirror is put into place and a high-resolution HD1080 projector is put on the shelf. Folded optics make it compact! The case sits on a stand with adjustable legs in the back of the dome... leaving the best seats in the house - the center - available for viewers! The Newtonian is easy to travel, safe for the mirror, and will even carry on to many airplanes! (But we use a safe "storm case" for shipping).

For fixed domes, the Newtonian sits on the cove (or on a shelf just below it) at the back lower edge of your dome - allowing you to keep your analog star ball if you want! We have installed mirror systems in domes up to 50 feet in diameter, including the Tamilnadu Science Center in Chennai, India!

How Does It Work?

The Newtonian system uses a high quality spherical Go-Vex™ convex mirror - front surface aluminized but with a special coating that allows gentle cleaning (coated to not attract dust like most front-silvered mirrors do). This mirror reflects the image from a projector onto a dome. A secondary mirror allows the projector to sit below the main mirror, minimizing the "footprint" in the dome. Specially pre-warped shows play smoothly at high resolution for PC or Mac systems.

Any fisheye content can be shown without prewarping with Fishtank, the world's first multipurpose software designed for mirror domes that allows you to play fisheye content, prewarped content, fulldome games and 360VR movies. Find out more on our Fishtank page.

For Mac systems, we also recommend a special "warpplayer" software from Paul Bourke. And for Windows machines, we recommend "WarpPlayer 3D" if you want to show unwarped content or 3D movies.


Cost As any astronomer can tell you, a perfect mirror is much less costly than a perfect lens. By using mirrors, we keep the costs down.
Flexibility The Newtonian system design can accommodate a much wider range of projectors than competing "in one box" systems. As projector or computer technology improves, it's easy to upgrade! High brightness projectors available for fixed domes up to 50 feet. And you can get local service on your projector.
Area Our system gives more than 90% dome coverage at a fraction of the price! Since the Newtonian system is positioned on the dome’s perimeter (in the back), the best seats in the house are now available: the center of your dome! This also maximizes seating capacity - up to 30% more seating in a given size portable dome! No "center" piece to setup, you'll have less visual interference and get a better immersive experience.
Star Software The system includes the powerful and flexible "Stellarium" star program. But you don't have to retire your existing star projector! Since the Newtonian system setup is in the rear and can be projected over the top of a star projector, it is possible for small domes to keep their existing mechanical-optical star projectors and go digital for less! We also offer SKY-X from Software Bisque for higher-end planetariums to get the best in star projection and show development.
Pixel Efficiency The Newtonian systems are able to project more of your projector's pixels, brighter on your dome than a comparable fisheye projection solution for HD projectors. Over 58% more pixelsthan a 1080 circle, and nearly 30% more pixels even than a 1200 circle fisheye system! We use the unprojected areas along the top and in the corners for onscreen menus that the visitors won't see.

Simple Setup It is as simple as setting up a presentation projector to a laptop. Our projection system uses a high-end laptop to drive the system. Combined with a single projector, sound system, and lightweight mirror assembly, the system can be set up by a single person in under 20 minutes in any dome. Ideal for portable domes, small fixed domes, public outreach programs, and development works. All the components are modular - upgrade easily and keep a spare handy!
Software Bundle The system is pre-installed with Stellarium and our easy-to-use "MediaSHOW" software (PC or Mac systems). A half-day of training (included in the package price) is all it takes for you to create your own content, creating slide shows with music, show a non-fulldome movie inset in a fisheye image, etc. Now also all Dell versions come pre-installed with WorldWide Telescope!