A new Omnistar digital planetarium projector has been installed at the Herbert F. Trackman Planetarium at Joliet Junior College, Illinois, offering viewers a far more interactive experience.

The facility debuted the new $186,000 (£110,600) projector earlier this month, demonstrating its power to draw from satellites and enticing stargazers from across the local area.

The projector was funded through a grant from the JJC Foundation and is controlled by two high-power computers.

It is capable of displaying historic satellite data, which shows what planet Earth looked like from space many years ago. It is also able to interact with other planetariums around the world and show views of the stars from Earth, confirmed Art Maurer, director of the Herbert F. Trackman Planetarium.

“It’s much easier to use,” he told the Southdown Star. “And I get to play with the most fascinating tools and toys.”

The planetarium holds astronomy shows attended by more than 9,000 schoolchildren each year, as well as holding evenings that are open to the public.

The venue’s old Spitz 512 planetarium projector, which had been in use solidly since 1973, will now be displayed at the Joliet Area Historical Museum.