Built 57 years ago, the Wits Planetarium was the first full-sized planetarium in Africa and is still an iconic educational landmark in Johannesburg. It hosts more than 77 000 learners and adults annually, informing them about astronomy.
Over the years, however, the interior dome surfaces had deteriorated and required re-painting, not only for the planetarium to be fully functional, but also to produce the desired results in order for it to serve its purpose of educating audiences and supporting their interest in astronomy.
Dulux South Africa and Trade All Africa partnered with the Wits Planetarium to ensure the best clarity of the astronomical content presented at the planetarium.
“Initially the project was set up for cleaning the dome, but after discovering that the deteriorating surface of the dome needed more than just cleaning, we reached out to Dulux to assist and they saw this project through to completion with us,” explains Vaughn Zackey, managing director of Trade All Africa.
The project required intensive research into the product that would be suitable to achieve the recommended dome reflectivity of 50%. Clear projection of data was the most important factor of this project, which required many hours of testing to find the correct paint colour that would provide the desired effect with maximum warranty.
Ultimately Dulux Trade 100 matte – 30YY78/018 was selected as the paint that produced a clear and sharp image with good colour saturation across the dome.
“Working with the Wits Planetarium gave Dulux the opportunity not only to showcase the premium quality of our paints, but also to make a difference in the community of our consumers,” says Dewald Boshof from the Dulux technical team. “We are very proud to have been part of renovating one of the city’s most renowned buildings and enhancing the immersive experience of young minds as they explore the wonders of our known universe.”
A brand new experience
“Astronomy is an often overlooked career and yet we need more astronomers in South Africa. This project with Dulux and Trade All Africa was important to us as the planetarium is a gateway to the world of science and the stars. By revamping the dome surface, we are able to give visitors the best possible display of our content and spark a love for space exploration in the young school learners who visit the planetarium,” comments Professor John Carter from the Wits Planetarium.
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Following intensive research into the product that would be suitable to achieve the recommended dome reflectivity of 50%, the Dulux Trade 100 matte – 30YY78/018 was selected.