> I have looked at several different planetarium software options(Celestia, Stellarium, StarryNight, and others) for our new digital planetarium projector (Optoma HD 1080). Are any of them capable of a higher resolution projection on the dome, or is it strictly a factor of the resolution of the projector and the computer, not the software??
There are lots of factors relating to the final quality of an image on a dome. However when talking about resolution, a projectors native resolution provides an upper limit on the resolution possible.
There are also considerations relating to the quality of the fisheye lens or spherical mirror. Both of these introduce an image degradation, the amount depends on their quality.
Regarding the computer, the resolution it uses when connected to the projector should be the same as the native resolution of the projector, in this case 1920x1080. Both higher and lower values can result in poorer results.
The rest, with regard to resolution, comes down to software. Here you are interested in whether the software is fully utilising the pixels in the HD frame. There are some packages that don't do things optimally when creating fisheye images, similarly if you are using warped fisheye images. As an example, some software creates fisheye images at an insufficient resolution before warping for the spherical mirror, these are obviously not going to get the full benefit from a HD projector. For example, with an HD projector and spherical mirror the fisheyes created for warping should be around 1600 square.
With a fisheye lens you have choices of whether to use all the dome or 3/4 dome (two common lens alternatives) the later giving better quality on the portion used. Similarly with the spherical mirror you can calibrate the warping mesh and projector mirror distance to cover the whole dome or X% of the dome, same trade off exists between coverage and quality on the portion covered.
Feel free to contact me offline if you have questions about specific packages.