CAS 522 Camera ObscuraAround 1976, then curator of the Astronomy Department Jeffrey Baumgardner noticed that if the window in our planetarium was cracked open, the room acted as a camera obscura. As the open window was a slit it was a rather poor camera opening, so he proceeded to carve a hole (elliptical, to work better on the dome) and our camera obscura was born. Around 1980, Prof. Brecher transferred the camera obscura to our large classroom (CAS 522) using a circular opening. A diaphragm can be used to sharpen the image (by closing it) or brighten the image (by opening it). Just what is a camera obscura? See the wikipedia entry for a decent explanation. More recently the now curator Quinn Sykes and I (the in-between curator), took some photos of the room, presented here. Each setup is presented three ways: lights on, lights off, and rotated and flipped to appear as if would were you looking out the window. Click on the thumbnails to see the images more clearly.
On my computer I can view the GIF’s directly, but must dowload the AVI files to view them. If you choose the GIF’s, be patient, it may take a little while to download the image.