The DuPont Planetarium at the University of South Carolina Aiken consists of 45-seats, a 30-foot diameter tilted aluminum dome by Astro-Tec, Digistar II planetarium projection systems from Evans & Sutherland, and Spice automation system by Sky-Skan. This equipment has the capabilities of all-sky, video and panoramic projection.
The DuPont Planetarium opened in September 1995. The planetarium conducts K-12 school programs, general-interest level programs for the public, specialized programs for university classes, and private shows for parties and other events.
Complementing the planetarium facility are the RPSEC Observatory, housing the Bechtel Telescope, and a variety of other telescopes:
The DuPont Planetarium chamber houses the only known "camera obscura" that shines on the inside of a planetarium dome.
The Camera Obscura is a device that is used to project an image without the aid of a lens. The idea of the Camera Obscura is said to date back to Aristotle though the camera was not invented until 1267 AD. A tinker named Bacon was the first to bring to life Aristotle's ideas. There are many different views as to why Bacon invented the camera, the most recognized by scholars is the first use of the camera was to observe the sun and solar eclipses. It was not until the Renaissance the camera was used for pictures and art.
After the Renaissance the camera's popularity grew. People discovered that the camera could also be used in art. Leonardo da Vinci was one of the first to use the camera to help him draw and understand light patterns.
The Camera Obscura works in a dark room or a box with a hole on one side of it. From this single tiny hole come images of objects from outside the room to the wall on the other side of the hole.
Also complementing the planetarium facility are two large sundials with shadow lines included in the cement plaza area.