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Vol. 40, No. 4

December 2011

Journal of the International Planetarium Society

Chinese Art in the Sky: A Journey into the Unknown

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December 2011

Vol. 40 No. 4

Executive Editor

Sharon Shanks Ward Beecher Planetarium Youngstown State University One University Plaza Youngstown, Ohio 44555 USA +1 330-941-3619

Advertising Coordinator

Dr. Dale Smith, Interim Coordinator (See Publications Committee on page 3)


Individual: $65 one year; $100 two years Institutional: $250 first year; $125 annual renewal Library Subscriptions: $45 one year; $80 two years All amounts in US currency Direct membership requests and changes of address to the Treasurer/Membership Chairman

Back Issues of the Planetarian

IPS Back Publications Repository maintained by the Treasurer/Membership Chair; contact information is on next page


A cumulative index of major articles that have appeared in the Planetarian from the first issue through the current issue is available online at index.pdf

Final Deadlines March: March: June: June: September: September: December: December:

January 21 April 21 July 21 October 21

Associate Editors Book Reviews April S. Whitt

Editor-at-Large Steve Tidey

International Lars Broman

Calendar Loris Ramponi

Education Jack Northrup

Last Light April S. Whitt

Cartoons Alexandre Cherman

IMERSANews Judith Rubin

Mobile News Susan Button

International Planetarium Society home page: Planetarian home page: Guidelines for Contributors and Advertisers: guidelines.html

Articles Articles 8 8

Eise Eise Eisinga: Eisinga: He He reched reched for for the the starry starry heavens and gave the world heavens and gave the world a a planetarium planetarium Chris Chris Janssen Janssen 14 Chinese Art in the Sky: A Journey into the 14 Chinese Art in the Sky: A Journey into the Unknown Unknown Mark MarkJ.J.Percey Percy 18 What else can it be but LIPS? Karrie 18 What else can it be but LIPS? Karrie Berglung Berglund 22 A Alex 22 A payment payment in in planetariums planetariums Alex Cherman Cherman 24 How we do it: Simple scheduling Adam 24 How we do it: Simple scheduling Adam Thanz Thanz 28 Under 28 Under one one Dome: Dome: Sir Sir Thomas Thomas Brisbane Brisbane Planetarium Planetarium Mark Mark Rigby Rigby 36 A Park for the Dark 30 Integrating reading with the planetarium 56 American planetarian in Italy also finds his roots John C. Scala Joseph E. Ciotti 38 A Park for the Dark 58

American planetarian in Italy also finds his roots Joseph E. Ciotti


60 Book Reviews. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April S. Whitt 65 Calendar of Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Loris Ramponi Columns 35 Educational Horizons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack L. Northrup 62 Book Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April S.Shanks Whitt 4 In Front of the Console . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sharon 67 Calendar of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Loris Ramponi 38 IMERSA News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Judith Rubin 37 Educational . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JackLars L. Northrup InternationalHorizons News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Broman 43 4 In Front of the Console . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sharon 66 Last Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April S.Shanks Whitt 40 IMERSA News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Reynolds . . . .JudithButton Rubin 54 Mobile News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susan 45 International News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alex . LarsCherman Broman 40 Partycles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Light . Message . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dave AprilWeinrich S. Whitt 7 Last President’s 56 Mobile News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Susan Reynolds Shanks 62 Waxing New. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sharon Button 42 Partycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alex Cherman 7 President’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Weinrich 64 Waxing New . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sharon Shanks, Compiler

Index of Advertisers

Accessible Astronomy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Astro-Tec Mfg., Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Index of Advertisers Audio Visual Imagineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 AccessibleAcademy Astronomy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 California of .Sciences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Astro-Tec Mfg., Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Clark Planetarium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Audio Visual Imagineering . . .Science . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Denver Museum of Nature & 63 CaliforniaEducation AcademySolutions, of Sciences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 23 Digitalis Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clark Planetarium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39, . . . .41, . . .42, . . . outside . . . . . . . .back . . . . .cover . . .21 Evans & Sutherland. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37, Denver Museum of Nature & Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Global Immersion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 GOTO INC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Evans Sutherland . . . . . . . Co. . . . . Ltd . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39, 41, 43, 44 outside back cover 27 Konica&Minolta Planetarium Global Immersion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .inside . . . . . .back . . . . .cover ... 5 R.S.A. Cosmos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GOTO INCInc . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31, . . .centerfold, . . . . . . . . . . .17 Sky-Skan, 34 Konica Minolta Planetarium Co. Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 27 Softmachine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R.S.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . inside6,back cover Spitz, Cosmos Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25, 49, 51 Sky-Skan, Inc Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33, centerfold, 55 36 White Tower Softmachine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . inside . . . . . . front . . . . . .cover . . 29 Zeiss, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spitz, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6, 25, 51, 53 White Tower Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Zeiss, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . inside front cover

On the Cover: The azure dragon from Written in the Stars: Chinese Art in the Sky. The program, from Thinktank in the United Kingdom, was reformatted from Digistar 3 to definiti by the Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium in New York in a transatlantic collaboration; high school students did much of the work. Image by Pak-Keun Wan (used with permission); digital starfield created by Digistar 3 from Evans & Sutherland. Story on page 14.

December 2011 Planetarian Planetarian


Affiliate Representatives Officers President

Dave Weinrich Planetarium Minnesota State University-Moorhead 1104 7th Avenue South Moorhead Minnesota 56563 USA +1 218-477-2969 +1 218-477-5864 fax


Dr. Tom Mason, Director Armagh Planetarium College Hill Armagh BT61 9DB Northern Ireland United Kingdom +44 (0)2837 524725 +44 (0)2837 526187 fax +44 (0)771 0013453 cell President-Elect Thomas W. Kraupe Planetarium Hamburg Hindenburgstraße 1 b D-22303 Hamburg Deutschland +49 0 (40) 428 86 52-21 +49 0 (40) 428 86 52-99 fax +49 0 (40) 4279 24-850 e-fax +49 0 (40) 172-40 86 133 cell thomas.kraupe@

Executive Secretary

Lee Ann Hennig Planetarium, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology 6560 Braddock Road Alexandria, Virginia 22312 USA +1 703-750-8380 +1 703-750-5010 fax

Treasurer and Membership Chair Shawn Laatsch

All fiscal matters: P.O. Box 4451 Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA All other correspondence: ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i 600 ‘Imiloa Place Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA +1 808-969-9735 +1 808-969-9748 fax

Association of Brazilian Planetariums Alexandre Cherman Planetário do Rio de Janeiro R. Vice-Governador Rubens Berardo, 100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil 22451-070 +55 (21) 2274-0046 ext. 264 +55 (21) 2529-2149 fax alexandre.cherman@ Association of Dutch-Speaking Planetariums/PLANed Chris Janssen Leunenstraat 6a 3950 Bocholt Belgium + 32 89464969 Association of FrenchSpeaking Planetariums Agnès Acker Observatoire de Strasbourg 11, rue de l’université 67000 Strasbourg France +33 3 90 24 24 67 +33 3 90 24 24 17 fax Association of Mexican Planetariums Ignacio Castro Pinal Torres de Mixcoac, A6-702 C.P. 01490, México City D.F. México +52 (55) 5500 0562 +52 (55) 5500 0583 fax AMPAC/AMPACintro.htm Association of Spanish Planetariums Javier Armentia Planetario de Pamplona Sancho Ramirez, 2 E-31008 Pamplona Navarra Spain +34 948 260 004 +34 948 260 056 +34 948 261 919 fax gestion@pamplonetario. Australasian Planetarium Society Mark Rigby, Curator Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium Mt. Coot-tha Road, Toowong Brisbane, Queensland 4066 Australia +61 7 3403 2578 +61 7 3403 2575 fax mark.rigby@

British Association of Planetaria Jenny Shipway Planetarium Manager INTECH Science Centre & Planetarium Telegraph Way, Morn Hill Winchester, SO2 11H United Kingdom +44 1 962 891916 +44 1962 868524 fax JennyShipway@ Canadian Association of Science Centres Ian C. McLennan #404 - 1275 Haro Street Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 1G1 Canada +1 604-681-4790 phone + fax Chinese Planetarium Society Jin Zhu Beijing Planetarium No. 138 Xizhimenwait Street Beijing, 1000044 P.R. China +86 10-5158-3311 +86 10-5158-3312 fax

Great Plains Planetarium Association Jack Dunn Ralph Mueller Planetarium University of Nebraska-Lincoln 210 Morrill Hall Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0375 USA +1 402-472-2641 +1 402-475-8899 fax Italian Association of Planetaria Loris Ramponi National Archive of Planetaria c/o Centro Studi e Ricerche Serafino Zani via Bosca 24, C.P. 104 I 25066 Lumezzane (Brescia) Italy +39 30 872 164 +39 30 872 545 fax Japan Planetarium Society Kaoru Kimura Japan Science Foundation Kitanomaru Park, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, 102-0091 Japan

Council of German Planetariums Thomas W. Kraupe Planetarium Hamburg Hindenburgstraße 1 b D-22303 Hamburg Deutschland +49 0 (40) 428 86 52-21 +49 0 (40) 428 86 52-99 fax +49 0 (40) 4279 24-850 e-fax thomas.kraupe@

Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society Patty Seaton H.B. Owens Science Center 9601 Greenbelt Road Lanham-Seabrook, Maryland 20706 USA +1 301-918 8750 +1 301-918 8753 fax

European/ Mediterranean Planetarium Association Manos Kitsonas Eugenides Planetarium 387 Syngrou Avenue 17564 P. Faliro Athens, Greece +30 210 946 9674 +30 210 941 7372 fax

Nordic Planetarium Association Aase Roland Jacobsen The Steno Museum Planetarium C.F. Moellers Alle 2 University of Aarhus DK-8000 Aarhus C Denmark +45 89423975

Great Lakes Planetarium Association Jeanne Bishop Westlake Schools Planetarium Parkside Intermediate School 24525 Hilliard Road Westlake, Ohio 44145 USA +1 440-899-3075 x2058 +1 440-835-5572 fax jeanneebishop@

Pacific Planetarium Association Gail Chaid 1320 Glen Dell Drive San Jose, California 95125 USA +1 408-540-8879 cell +1 408-288-8525 planetarium/PPA

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Rocky Mountain Planetarium Association Rick Greenawald Faulkner Planetarium Herrett Center College of Southern Idaho P. O. Box 1238 315 Falls Avenue Twin Falls, Idaho 83303-1238 USA +1 208-732-6659 +1 208-736-4712 fax faulkner_overview.asp

Russian Planetariums Association Zinaida P. Sitkova Nizhny Novgorod Planetarium Revolutsionnja Street 20 603002 Nizhny Novgorod, Russia +7 831 246-78-80 +7 831 246-77-89 fax

Southeastern Planetarium Association John Hare Ash Enterprises 3602 23rd Avenue West Bradenton, Florida 34205 USA +1 941-746-3522

Southwestern Association of Planetariums Rachel Thompson Noble Planetarium Fort Worth Museum of Science and History 1600 Gendy Street Fort Worth, Texas 76107 USA +1 817-255-9409 +1 817-732-7635 fax +1 682-233-0822 cell

December 2011

Standing Committees Awards Committee Prof. Lars Broman, Chair Teknoland Stångtjärnsv 132 SE-791 74 Falun Sweden +46 2310177

Conference Host-2012 Jon Elvert Irene W. Pennington Planetarium Louisiana Art & Science Museum 100 South River Road Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802 USA +1 225-344-5272 +1 225-214-4027 fax

Conference Committee Dave Weinrich Planetarium Minnesota State University-Moorhead 1104 7th Avenue South Moorhead Minnesota 56563 USA +1 218-477-2969 +1 218-477-5864 fax

Conference Host- 2014 Dr. Jin Zhu, Director Beijing Planetarium 138 Xizhimenwai Street Beijing 100044 China +86 10-5158-3007 +86 10-5158-3312 fax Elections Committee Martin George, Chair Launceston Planetarium Queen Victoria Museum Wellington Street Launceston Tasmania 7250

Australia +61 3 6323 3777 +61 3 6323 3776 fax Finance Committee President, Past President, President Elect, Treasurer, Secretary Membership Committee Shawn Laatsch, Chair ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii 600 ‘Imiloa Place Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA +1 808-969-9735 +1 808-969-9748 fax Publications Committee Dr. Dale W. Smith, Chair BGSU Planetarium 104 Overman Hall Physics &Astronomy Department Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio 43403 USA

Ad Hoc Committees Education Committee Jack L. Northrup Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Planetarium King Science and Technology Magnet Center 3720 Florence Blvd. Omaha, NE 68110 USA +1 402-557-4494 Full-Dome Video Committee Antonio Pedrosa, Chair Navegar Foundation Centro Multimeios Espinho Av. 24, nº800, 4500-202 Espinho Portugal +351 22 7331190 +351 22 7331191 fax History Committee John Hare, IPS Historian Ash Enterprises 3602 23rd Avenue West Bradenton, Florida 34205 USA +1 941-746-3522 International Relations Committee Martin George, Chair Launceston Planetarium Queen Victoria Museum Wellington Street Launceston, Tasmania 7250 Australia +61 3 6323 3777 +61 3 6323 3776 fax Job Information Service Subcommittee (Professional Services Committee) Steve Fentress, Chair Strasenburgh Planetarium Rochester Museum & Science Center 657 East Avenue Rochester, New York 14607 USA +1 585-271-4552 ext. 409 +1 585-271-7146 fax

IPS Publicity Coordinator Rachel Thompson Noble Planetarium Fort Worth Museum of Science and History 1600 Gendy Street Fort Worth, Texas 76107 USA +1 817-255-9409 +1 817-732-7635 fax +1 682-233-0822 cell Outreach Committee Jon W. Elvert, Chair Irene W. Pennington Planetarium Louisiana Art & Science Museum 100 South River Road Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802 USA +1 225-344-5272 +1 225-214-4027 fax Planetarium Development Group Ken Wilson, Chair 9346 Drawbridge Road Mechanicsville, Virginia 23220 USA Portable Planetarium Committee Susan Reynolds Button, Chair Quarks to Clusters 8793 Horseshoe Lane Chittenango, NY 13037 +1 315-687-5371 Professional Services Committee Mike Murray, Chair Clark Planetarium 110 South 400 West Salt Lake City, Utah 84101 USA +1 801-456-4949 +1 801-456-4928 fax

Script Contest Committee Thomas W. Kraupe Planetarium Hamburg Hindenburgstr.1b D-22303 Hamburg Germany +49(0)40-428 86 52-21 +49(0)40-428 86 52-99 fax +49(0)40-4279 24-850 e-fax +49(0)172-40 86 133 cell Armand Spitz Planetarium Education Fund Finance Committee Strategic Planning Committee President, Past President, President Elect, Treasurer, Secretary Technology Committee Jack Dunn Ralph Mueller Planetarium University of Nebraska- Lincoln 210 Morrill Hall Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0375 USA +1 402-472-2641 +1 402-475-8899 fax Web Committee Alan Gould, Chair Holt Planetarium Lawrence Hall of Science University of California Berkeley, California 94720-5200 USA +1 510-643-5082 +1 510-642-1055 fax

December 2011 Planetarian

IPS Permanent Mailing Address

+1 419-372-8666 +1 419-372-9938 fax

International Planetarium Society c/o Shawn Laatsch Treasurer/Membership Chair All fiscal business: P.O. Box 4451 Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA All other correspondence:

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i 600 ‘Imiloa Place Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA +1 808-969-9735 +1 808-969-9748 fax

IPS Web Site: Please notify the Editor of any changes on these two pages. Contact the Treasurer/ Membership Chair for individual member address changes and general circulation and billing questions. The Planetarian (ISN 00903213) is published quarterly by the International Planetarium Society. ©2011, International Planetarium Society, Inc., all rights reserved. Opinions expressed by authors are personal opinions and are not necessarily the opinions of the International Planetarium Society, its officers, or agents. Acceptance of advertisements, announcements, or other material does not imply endorsement by the International Planetarium Society, its officers or agents. The Editor welcomes Letters to the Editor and items for consideration for publication. Please consult “Guidelines for Contributors” at planetarian/guidelines.html. The Editor reserves the right to edit any manuscript to suit this publication’s needs.


In Front of the Console Sharon Shanks Ward Beecher Planetarium Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH 44555 USA

Did you miss me in September? At the eleventh hour in putting together the September Planetarian, I discovered that I had left out a full-page ad. The easiest way to avert disaster was to pull my one-page column, do some rearranging, and pop in the ad. So now I’ve got a lot to catch you up on, starting first with what must have been a puzzling box on Page 47 in September. It was called “Mission (Uncensored) Reports” by Thinktank’s Mario Di Maggio. Mario suggested that I could use his collection of Tweets for fillers in those odd spots where the copy didn’t fill the page. My immediate answer was “of course,” because the odd empty spots are a bane to editors. Mario explained: “For over a year now I’ve been running a Twitter search for the word ‘planetarium’ and have been collecting the tweets I find interesting, original and just down-to-Earth human. It has become a fun little mini-hobby listening in to what people around the world are saying about planetariums, while they’re visiting planetariums, and after they’ve been to a planetarium.” I came up with “Mission (Uncensored) Reports” because the tweets are certainly uncensored, and they are some of the most honest and clear reports we can find about how good of a job we’re doing. Besides, it sounded almost spacy, too. More appear in this issue on Pages 21 and 61. I’ve been thinking for a while about adding a “tips and tricks” column, and Adam Thanz from Bays Mountain gave me just the nudge I needed to get it started. Check Page 24, and you’ll find the new “How we do it—tips and tricks to share” feature. Adam started us off with how he and his staff use Google calendar (the free one!) to schedule and keep organized. I’ve used Google calendar myself for a few years to help teachers schedule, thinking it would be helpful when they’re trying to coordinate two or three destinations. More teachers use it every year, and I appreciated the fact that I could embed it on the planetarium’s website and it updates at the same time that we enter new field trip data. Submissions for this new feature are welcome, of course. You don’t have to be a great writer, and please, don’t think others won’t

be interested in the little time-saving or effort-saving tricks you’ve adopted under your dome. Yes, we will be interested.

What’s up with astronomy education? The focus of the September issue, of course, was the document “Astronomy Literacy: Essential Concepts for a K-12 Curriculum,” written collaboratively by the United States planetarium affiliates and prepared for publication by Gary Tomlinson. Gary and many others worked for months to prepare the document, but time worked against them. While the planetarium community was putting together their document, others in Washington were finishing the draft of A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The window for response and feedback was simply too small for significant comments about astronomy content to be made. Planetarians can still provide input in the second step of the process. At deadline for the September issue Achieve, the organization tapped to create draft standards aligned with the framework document, had not had a chance to develop its “next generation science standards” website. It is now done ( and prominent on the home page is a link to “add your voice of support.” What they call “voices of support” is a web form to “share your thoughts about new standards, or about why science is important to you.” It would make more sense to me to call it “share your thoughts” throughout, an impartial and neutral statement, instead of spinning the term to something positive but unclear (What if my voice isn’t in support? Am I not allowed to fill in the form?), but hey, at least it’s a place where individuals can, hopefully, be heard. To be honest, I hate spinning. I see the need for using a “positive spin” in grant applications, for example, but despise the verbiage it creates. Verbiage, by the way, “is an insulting term usually meant to disparage needlessly wordy prose.” Verbiage infests Washington, D.C. It also has infected the main Achieve website and its next generation science site as well.

This happy guy has been waiting a long time on the pasteboard until I had room to get him in. He’s Apollo, the god of light, and the creation of Phillip Martin. I came across the work of Mr. Martin by accident while Googling for free illustrations for a planetarium program. It was a happy accident, as it turns out. It’s hard to describe exactly who Phillip Martin is. He’s an artist, muralist, teacher, theater director and actor, writer, a Peace Corps volunteer, and avid traveler. He’s also the source of Free Clip Art by Phillip Martin at www.phillipmartin. com. Yes, free. There are literally hundreds of individual illustrations in every category possible for education. The clip art pages are full of ads, but it’s worth ignoring them because, after all, the clip art is free. Any non-profit use is permitted: in classrooms and newsletters, on school websites, and, of course, for inhouse planetarium shows. I’ve written to Mr. Martin on his facebook page and suggested that he finish his “gods of the planets” selection. He has Jupiter, Neptune, Venus, and Pluto under the Ancient Rome category, and Apollo, Mars, and Mercury under Ancient Greece. I’d love to have Earth, Saturn and Uranus to complete the solar system and matching colorful dome images appropriate for young children. You can reach him at phillip.martin. I In a world where clear and precise language is needed for understanding, verbiage dirties everthing we do. The type of language used by Achieve, its cumbersome circular-linking website that repeats the same “education speak” information on many pages, and its lack of clarity—at least in a language I understand—makes me uncomfortable about the future of science education reform. I hope I the feeling goes away.

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December 2011

Fidelity Black 8K™ at the Grainger Sky Theater, Adler Planetarium, Chicago © Adler Planetarium

Breath-taKingly mind-Blowingly heart-stoppingly awesome

Say “hello” to the Digital Starball We like to re-write the rules. That’s why we installed the world’s first Digital Starball at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago – the highest resolution and contrast digital dome theater in the world. Our Fidelity Black 8K™ digital theater solution features the renowned Zorro® projector to create an experience so black, so resolute, so colorful,

so realistic, and so comparable to the crystal clarity and accuracy of an opto-mechanical star projector, that we challenge you to walk away and not agree that you have just witnessed the world’s first Digital Starball. To see the Digital Starball for yourself, please contact us.

UK: +44 (0) 845 0 456225 / USA: +1 720 259 1639 / / Zorro is a registered trademark of Zorro Productions Inc., and is used under license by Rockwell Collins. Fidelity Black 8K is a trademark of Global Immersion

December 2011 Planetarian





E x p l o r i n g






E a r t h ’s



C l i m a t e



E n g i n e

Thomas Lucas Productions

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December 2011

President’s Message Dave Weinrich Planetarium, Minnesota State University-Moorhead 1104 7th Avenue South Moorhead, Minnesota 56563 USA +1 218-477-2969 +1 218-477-5864 fax

Dear Friends and Fellow Planetarians I am writing to you as I fly over the farmlands of northern Illinois, heading home after another great regional conference. Like all of you, I look forward to the opportunity to get together with colleagues and enjoy the inspiring lectures, the insightful papers, the helpful workshops and the latest vendor updates. Probably, the most important part of each conference is networking with other planetarians, to discuss common joys and tribulations, to talk about our profession, to connect with old friends and make new ones, and just to have some fun. Networking occurs at meals, between paper presentations, at hospitality suites and at other times... Many of us work alone. My planetarium in Moorhead, Minnesota is 60 miles from the closest planetarium in Valley City, North Dakota. Rarely do I get to see fellow planetarians face-to-face, so I really enjoy the opportunity to get together at conferences. I guess that’s why I ended up getting only three or four hour of sleep a night at the last three conferences that I attended! One planetarian told a fellow airline passenger, “I’m going to a family reunion with a couple hundred of my best friends!” I encourage each of you to make the effort to attend your regional conference. You will be richly rewarded. Conferences also give you the opportunity to share with others by presenting a paper or a poster. There are many people who work behind the scenes to make our regional affiliates and their conferences a success. All of us have benefited from the labor of others over the years, and eventually there comes a time for each of us to give back to the professional organizations from which we have received so much. One way to do that is to volunteer your time as a committee member or to run for a position as an officer. Or you might choose to write an article for your affiliate’s publication. There are a myriad of ways to serve your affiliate and IPS.

A gift from the Western Alliance I want to share a story from the Western Alliance Conference (WAC) this past July. WAC is the meeting of the four regional affiliates from the western half of the U.S. One morn-

ing, the presidents of the four regionals gathered for breakfast and invited me to join them. There was extra money in one of their account and there was some discussion regarding what this money should be used for. Various ideas were proposed, but no decision was made at the meeting. Later that same day, I gave a paper and a small number of people were present in the room. Have you ever presented a planetarium show to a small number of people? Perhaps you felt a little disheartened, as I have felt in such a situation. However, regardless of the number of people in the audience, I try to proceed with the same enthusiasm that I would if the theater were filled.

It’s not quantity, but quality As I was reminded at WAC, it isn’t important how many people are present, what’s important is that you have the “right people.” Maybe a program that you present to an audience of one person might spark a life-long interest in some aspect of science, history or another subject presented in your theater. Perhaps you are educating a future scientist, a cosmonaut or an amateur astronomer. To get back to my story at WAC, the attendance at my paper presentation was small and I was a little disheartened, but I went ahead and presented what I had planned. At the end, having a few extra minutes, I decided to show an interview with Jacob Ashong about the Ghana Planetarium project. His enthusiasm is catching. If you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it on YouTube at com/watch?v=FmKcOzTc_Bg. As I was playing the movie, someone in the audience remarked to the president of one of the regionals, “Hey, that’s what we can do with that extra money! We can give it to Jacob.” The presidents conferred and decided that they would make a sizeable donation so that Jacob and Jane Ashong can come to IPS 2012. Once again, I was reminded that it’s not the number of people that is important, it’s that you have the “right people.” In this case, the presence of just four people in the audience led to a generous gift. I hope that many of you will have the pleasure of meeting Jacob and Jane next July at our conference in Baton Rouge.

December 2011 Planetarian

By the time you read this message, I will have attended the regional conference of the Association of Brazilian Planetariums in Fortaleza, Brazil. When I received the invitation to deliver the opening address, I considered several different topics. What message might I give that would be relevant to their particular conference? What message did I want to give to them in my role as president of the International Planetarium Society? I thought of several topics and rejected them. As I ruminated, I realized that I started working at a college planetarium in August of 1970, at about the same time that IPS was forming. I decided to present a brief history of planetariums, with a focus on the past forty years that I have been involved in the profession. I plan to give a personal perspective and perhaps at the end, speculate about the future of our profession. How we can professionally prepare for that future? I will write on the same subject in a future president’s message.

Lessons from IPS history Once I decided on my topic, it was time to do some research. The book Theaters of Time and Space: American Planetaria, 1930-1970 by Jordan D. Marche II was a valuable resource. I was especially interested in the Conference of American Planetarium Educators (CAPE) that was held at the Abrams Planetarium in East Lansing, Michigan. Approximately 300 planetarians met October 21-23, 1970. This was the organizational meeting that led to the formation of the International Society of Planetarium Educators (ISPE), later renamed the International Planetarium Society. I interviewed several planetarians who were at the meeting and asked John Hare, the IPS historian, if I could see the IPS archives related to the CAPE meeting. When the archives arrived, I didn’t have the opportunity to look at them immediately, but holding that FedEx box in my hands gave me a sense of awe. Here I was, holding documents from the very earliest years of our Society! It is important not to forget those early years and where we came from. Our organization truly does exist due to the labors of many people over the past four decades. I was not disappointed when I opened the box and perused the materials. Here was the actual brochure that advertised the meeting. It was a simple tri-fold brochure made of yellow paper with black print. Inside the brochure were listed some of the opportunities that the conference would present. They were: Attend three days of activities specifically designed to augment your functions as a planetarium educator •• Meet and exchange ideas with colleagues throughout North America. (Continues on Page 16)


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He reached for the starry heavens and gave the world a planetarium

Chris Janssen Leunenstraat 6a 3950 Bocholt Belgium The people of the Netherlands know they have something special in Franeker, and they hope the world will acknowledge it as well. And the world should, because, after all, that special something is nothing less than the Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium, the oldest working planetarium in the world. Planetarian readers have a chance to help the Netherlands achieve this goal of world-wide recognition by writing a letter of support. More details are at the end of this article. -ed. The Royal Eise Eising Planetarium in Franeker, Netherlands. All photos courtesy of the Eise Eising Planetarium

Eise Eisinga

was born on 21 February 1744 in the village of Dronrijp, where he also attended primary school. Like so many children of his day, he had to lend a hand in the family business; in his case, in his father’s wool-combing activities. Besides wool combing, he also took a keen interest in his father’s work in astronomy and mathematics. He was such an enthusiastic student that, even at an early age, he undertook a weekly walk of several kilometres to the near-

by city of Franeker to study the mathematical tomes of Euclides with a wool-dyer by the name of Willem Wytzes. Thanks to his self-studies, the young Eise had written a book on mathematics of more than 650 pages by the age of 15. By the age of 18, he had written two more books: one on astronomy, titled Grondbeginselen der Astronomie of Starre-loopkunde op een Theoretische wijze verhandelt (Theory of the Basic Principles of Astronomy or Science of

the Course of the Stars) and Gnomonica of Sonnewijsers alle door passer en lijnjaal afgepast, op de Noorderbreedte van Dronrijp (Gnomonics or Sundials measured out with compass and ruler to the North latitude of Dronrijp). After that, he wrote a fourth book in which he calculated and drew all the solar and lunar eclipses between 1762 and 1800. At the age of 24, Eisinga married Pietje Jacobs, and in 1768 he settled down as a wool comber in Franeker.

Facing page: Portrait of Eise Eisinga, 1827. In back: the ceiling of the planetarium. (Also shown unobstructed on page 10.)

December 2011 Planetarian


ARCES ATT sent planets were Uranus and Neptune, because they had not been discovered yet. In addition to the solar system, Eisinga also placed an extensive number of signs and dials on his ceiling to enable the user to read current information about our solar system.

The date dial He built a seventh slot outside Saturn’s orbit to fit in the moving date dial, which displays the correct date (day and month) on the outside, while the inside reading indicates the position of the sun in the zodiac. The signs of the zodiac are divided into sections of 30 degrees each. A number of calibrated parallel lines are placed between the date circle and the cornices around the ceiling to indicate the sun’s declination over the whole year. The date dial completes the circle in a period of one full year, but needs to be set back one day every leap year. Eise Eisinga accomplished this with a special design: the date dial is decoupled from the central driving mechanism and set back one day (in which case 28 February is repeated).

His extensive knowledge of astronomy and mathematics came in very handy when, in May 1774, his region was unsettled by a prediction by a minister of the church, Eelco Alta from Bozum, to the effect that an alignment of the moon and the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, on 8 May of that year would release forces that would result in the Earth being torn off course and hurled towards the sun. Eisinga had all the knowledge at his disposal to build a moving model of the solar system in his living room. He wanted to prove that the alignment of the planets was no cause for panic. Seven years passed between his initial idea and the ultimate realisation of his plan.

Operation of the planetarium

To be able to fit the solar system into his living room, Eisinga had to reduce its size a billion times, which means that, in his model, one millimetre corresponds to one million kilometres. Everything else about his planetarium is true to life: the sun is located at the centre, and the planets rotate around it at the real relative speeds. He also included the largest moons of the different planets. The only ab-

The ceiling of the planetarium (top, this time unobstructed) and a close-up of the central section. The sun, of course, has center stage.

Date indicator and year Eisinga placed five dials on the ceiling: the central dial indicates the correct day of the week, and it is also possible to read the exact hour (in local time) on it. It also has a rectangular opening in it that displays the correct year. The year starts to change at approximately four o’clock p.m. on 31 December every year and the New Year is

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TIGIT IGNEAS fully visible at midnight of the last day of the year. The board on which the years are displayed must be refurbished with a new set of years every 22 years.

The lunar dials The Eise Eisinga Planetarium has a total of eight dials that are related to our moon. The dials indicate the times at which the moon rises and sets, the lunar phases, and the constellation in which the moon is located at any given time. The other dials provide an extremely precise representation of the lunar orbit, which makes it possible to see solar and lunar eclipses.

Planisphere The area above the box bed is designed as a planisphere, where the celestial movements of the sun and celestial bodies are represented, using the village of Franeker as the central point. The disk shows the exact time and place at which the sun rises over the eastern horizon every morning, after which it moves through the south and ends up setting in the west. The hours are represented in the form of straight lines. Two small clocks flanking the disk indicate the exact times of sunrise and sunset. The movement of the zodiac is represented on the same disk. Every day, the viewer is able to observe how the Sun slides up a little further in relation to the star-spangled sky. All the planets, dials and clocks are driven by a system consisting of wooden hoops and disks onto which Eisinga attached more than 10,000 hand-forged nails that serve as the gear teeth. The entire geared mechanism is controlled by a pendulum clock with a single weight. This clock’s only task is to maintain the mechanism’s speed: the system is driven by the clock’s eight weights that are linked to the most important axles. This single pendulum clock, in fact, drives everything: the planets as well as the very different times of the rising and setting moon. Because of temperature changes the pendulum has to be adjusted somewhat throughout the course of the year. The different planets orbit at very different speeds. Eisinga was able to create the irregularities with the use of eccentric gears, the teeth of which are positioned such as to ensure that the gear will always rotate at varying speeds. The gears that move the planets and date dials consist of oak wood hoops supported and controlled with wooden rollers. Above each slot (planetary orbit) in the ceiling one hoop is located. The outside and largest gear moves the date dial and therefore completes

Literally, a clockwork universe: close-up images of the geals and hand-forged nails that run the planetarium. At top are the planet wheels. A single pendulum clock drives everything.

its rotation in a period of one year. The second hoop is the gear that moves the planet Saturn around the sun in an orbit of 29 years and 164 days. Eisinga attached a pin to the side of the date dial gear to serve as the new-year’s nail that activates the year change on 31 December.

230 years and still ticking

Once he had completed the mechanism in 1781, Eisinga produced a meticulous description with drawings of the operation of the planetarium to ensure that his children would be able to maintain the system after his death. On 30 June 1818, King William I of the

December 2011 Planetarian

Netherlands, who had previously appointed Eisinga to Broeder der Orde van de Nederlanse Leeuw (Brotherhood of the Order of the Dutch Lion), visited the planetarium with Prince Frederick of the Netherlands. Seven years later, the King decided to purchase the planetarium for the Dutch state for the price of ten thousand guilders (an enormous amount at the time) with the provision that Eisinga could live in the house for free with a salary of 200 guilders a year for supervising the planetarium, which also entailed maintaining the planetarium and explaining it to “the nation.” Eisinga continued to do so for three years before he died on the morning of 27 August 1828 at the age of 84 years and six months. He was buried in the Dronrijp cemetery as he had


ARCES ATTIGIT IGNEAS requested. On 25 February 1859, the Dutch state transferred ownership of the planetarium to the municipality of Franeker. After Eise Eisinga’s death, his youngest son, Jacobus, took over the management of the planetarium, a job he did for 30 years. After his death the planetarium remained in the family’s control. Jacobus’ daughter Sjoukje was the first female curator and was succeeded by her sister Jeltje, who was married to Jacob Fogteloo. After the death of the Fogteloos, in 1910, the Franeker municipality appointed the late couple’s daughter Hiltje as Jelte’s successor, a duty she fulfilled until April 1922. The end of her curatorship also heralded the end of the family’s management of the planetarium and the beginning of external curatorship. The planetarium has received large numbers of visitors since its opening in 1781. After a few hundred visitors in the early years, the number of visitors increased to approximately 35,000 a year by the beginning of the 21st century and to around 45,000 in the past few years. This is undoubtedly partially due to the assignment of the “Royal” title that was granted the planetarium in the year of its 225th anniversary in 2006, and the expansion of the planetarium into a neighbouring building. The expanded and redesigned planetarium also includes Eisinga’s former wool-combing workshop, which has been restored.

UNESCO World Heritage List

Given the rich history of the planetarium and the special place it occupies in world history, the board of governors decided to propose the planetarium for the UNESCO World Heritage List. After years of preparation, the planetarium was finally officially included in the Dutch list in the autumn of 2010. The

Dutch candidates will be presented to UNESCO’s international committee in the years ahead. The planetarium is currently working on the required nomination documents for the candidature, which covers three key concepts: •• Outstanding universal value •• Support •• Protection and management

Support the nomination We hereby request your assistance in meeting the first two criteria: In the case of the criterion “outstanding universal value,” we need to determine whether there are any known and comparable planetariums or astronomical instruments from the 18th and beginning of the 19th century anywhere else in the world. The analysis must Top: Eise Eisinga’s mathematics book from 1759; Below: Instrucdemonstrate the unique tions for the planetarium mechanism. character of the Eise Eisinga Planetarium. Would you please let us know if you are does it provide? aware of any other comparable planetariums We kindly ask you to send us all relevant inor planetarium instruments? The following formation. points are important considerations in that You can assist us in the “support” criteriregard: on by sending us a letter of support on behalf •• In what year/period was it built? of your organisation. Please mention in your •• Where is it located? letter that the Eise Eisinga Planetarium rep•• Does the instrument still work? resents exceptional universal value, and that •• What kind of astronomical information your organisation supports its candidature for the World Heritage List. Please consult the website at for an example letter and answers to specific questions concerning the outstanding international value of the planetarium. Kindly send your letter(s) to our postal address or as an email attachment written on an original letterhead. Adrie Warmenhoven Director, Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium Eise Eisingastraat 3 8801 KE Franeker The Netherlands I

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December 2011 Planetarian


Chinese Art in the Sky: A Journey into the Unknown

Mark J. Percy Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium Williamsville North High School 1595 Hopkins Road Williamsville, New York14221

Planetarium folks come to the profession from many different walks of life. I started out as a chemistry teacher who happened to like astronomy. I’ve always worked in technical theater, so my transition to the planetarium of yesterday was somewhat natural. Smoke and mirrors was how we did it back then, right? Hopefully not too much smoke though! I just wrapped up my 10th year as a planetarium director and I can’t believe the strange and amazing places I’ve gone. I went from opaquing slides to digital animation in just a few short years. One of my latest odysseys has been a fun and rewarding experience that I’d like to share. There are many fascinating things that you can teach in a planetarium. I stumbled across something on that led to a really great experience for my students and me. Thinktank Planetarium in Birmingham, UK posted a video teaser about their new show, titled Written in the Stars: Chinese Art in the Sky. It seemed like a really cool topic to teach about and something that I’d enjoy learning more about myself. I e-mailed Mario Di Maggio, who is the

planetarium manager at Thinktank. I couldn’t afford to license the show, Mark Percy but after a bit of discussion we struck a deal. Thinktank is a Digistar 3 facility and we have Sky-Skan’s definiti system. As a school district planetarium, our funding is often minimal. However, one asset I do have is fantastic students. Our planetarium is attached to Williamsville North High School. Some of the high school students can work for me through our work-study program and others volunteer their time. With them, I knew we could do what Mario wanted in exchange for the show license. Our task was to convert the show to run through a definiti system. Of course, the first step in any good deal is the exchange of contracts. Once everybody had signed on the dotted line, our work began. Mario sent us some sample images and star charts. I understood the general nature of what we had to do, but I had no idea how involved it would be or how far we would take the project.

Putting the students to work Three students worked on the project with me over about a year’s time and we produced

a set of media and scripts with which I’m quite pleased. The first student to work on the project was Sophie Wang. She had taken astronomy as a student in her senior year and volunteered quite a bit of time writing scripts and testing the limits of what Digital Sky could do. She was interested in working over the summer and took on the project. Coincidentally, she had plans to travel to China to visit family and thought she might be able to do some research along the way. As it turned out, there was not much time for research between family fun occasions. We eventually learned that modern Chinese astronomy/astrology is very different from the historical constellations in the show. Upon her return to Williamsville, Sophie tackled the task of image processing. Thinktank supplied us with raw digital images that had been created by a local professional Chinese artist for the show. To look good on our dome, Sophie had to convert the format, resize, add alpha transparency and adjust the width of the drawn lines in each image. While this was tedious, her challenge had just begun. Positioning the images was a lot harder than we had imagined. Reflecting on the experience later, Sophie remarked that she had not only learned a number of digital media skills, but developed character strength with persis-

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tence and patience as the task just seemed to get more difficult every day. Mario Di Maggio and his colleague Colin Hutcheson at Thinktank wanted the products to be spot on, not just close. Working with a set of constellations that were totally novel to us meant that we had to find new reference points. The charts had the same stars, but no names or boundaries with which we were familiar. Sophie tweaked the script variables as best she could for each image and then made a dome master frame for their review. Colin would match it up with theirs, and send the comparison back with notes. At first, we got pretty discouraged because close was rarely close enough.

The faces behind the scenes

Making it happen: on top, the students, from left Sophie Wang, Aaron and Adam. Below, the UK crew, Mario Di Maggio and Colin Hutcheson. Top banner: artwork for Written in the Stars: Chinese Art in the Sky by artist Pak-Keun Wan (used with permission); digital starfield created by Digistar 3 from Evans & Sutherland.

Collaborating across time zones I’m sure it didn’t seem strange to Sophie, but I have to remark that I found it to be pretty amazing that we could have a back and forth collaboration across the ocean as easily as with someone down the hall. I’ve been around long enough to remember getting my first 300-baud modem. Since Birmingham, UK is 5 hours ahead, we’d make sure to plan our time carefully, but each day several e-mails went back and forth without much of a thought. Digital Sky allows images to be positioned with almost limitless variation. How many degrees of freedom? Left/right, up/down, wide/narrow, rotate, scale, warp, and lens distortion are all among the parameters that can

December 2011 Planetarian


be adjusted for an image. Sophie developed a few different alignment methods and explored a number of mathematical thinking skills as she wrestled with each image. By the end of the summer, she had reformatted and created script “buttons” for each of the many images. She also made sky presets and some other fun details such as a button for the audience to “blow the clouds away” that was called for in the script. However, her time was up and she had to head off to college. The following fall, two more students took over the project. Adam Blocher and Aaron Borok were both work study students at our high school. They could come in one period per day to work on production projects. Sophie had established the workflow and laid out all the groundwork, so the boys’ tasks were well defined. As it turns out, breaking the work up into short time periods was best for this project. Sophie’s full work day was a lot more frustrating than a 45-minute period.

Competitive atmosphere at work I split up the list of images between Adam and Aaron and this provided a collegial yet competitive atmosphere between the boys. Each day, they would tweak an image and then we would send a dome master or two off for review. By overlaying each other’s dome grabs, we could compare positioning with the required precision. Slowly but surely, the guys got one image after another approved. Our agreement with Thinktank required us to position the images relative to the star field, but by this point I really wanted to create a full package. Knowing that Thinktank is Digistar and therefore they couldn’t modify anything I sent them, I decided to keep working and create graphics to label all the constellations as well as a presentation-ready set of buttons for Digital Sky. We could make English labels fairly easily, but Chinese labels meant not only being able to read Chinese, but writing scripts to call characters from the Ming Lu font set. Instead, Adam made images out of the Chinese labels and then positioned them like pictures. With all the images and labels done, I had to take over once again. I still had no way to really know what their finished show looked like since the nearest Digistar facility is almost 200 miles away. Colin had described their D3 scripts in detail, but it took me a while to understand the way the show was programmed as it was a completely different scripting language. Now I had to learn another new language if I was going to really understand how the show was actually presented live. Colin patiently answered a number of questions as I translated each scene. I wrote scripts for playing the music and demonstrating sky motions such as diur-

nal motion, precession, movement along the ecliptic and an eclipse. There was a graphic of the oldest star chart in existence that begged to become a wrap-around panorama, and an ancient story about the Summer Triangle that needed a special touch. One of my colleagues at school narrated a recording of the story. I mixed the voice and music so that I could make a script that circled each star and drew the triangle at just the right time. Finally, I thought long and hard about button layout. I’ve installed many show kits and worked through the strengths and weaknesses of each. I was determined to make sure this set was well organized and easy to use. In the end, I am very proud of the hard work, perseverance and skill of my students. We created a really nice product that Think-

tank can distribute in a plug-and-play format to any Digital Sky users. We are planning to premier the program here at the Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium in January in preparation for the Chinese New Year. When I took over as planetarium director 10 years ago, my biggest concern was whether or not I’d know the names of all those constellations. Little did I know that I’d have the opportunity to guide three talented students to create a show that teaches about a whole different set of stars and constellations, and that those learners might be thousands of miles away from our little dome here outside Buffalo, NY! By the way, if you think those Greek pictures are hard to keep straight, just take a look at what the ancient Chinese saw in the sky. I

(President’s Message, continued from Page 7 •• Hear prominent speakers presenting topics of special interest to the planetarium community. •• See the products of manufacturers of planetarium related equipment. •• Participate in decisions important to the future of planetarium teaching. •• Should a North American association of planetarium educators be organized? •• Should a North American planetarium journal be published? I browsed through the 16-page program for the conference and found many of the same topics that are discussed at our conferences today. The folder that held some of the archives had a picture of the Michigan State University campus and inside were old, faded Xerox copies, and mimeographed sheets with their wonderful blue color that I remember so fondly from my primary school days. There were postcards and a complete list of attendees at the meeting. Some of them are still in the profession and attend conferences. Most of them have retired or passed away, having left their mark on our profession. As I looked through the list, I was surprised to see the name of my college mentor, Emil C. Miller, the director of the Luther College planetarium which now bears his name. I hadn’t even known that he had attended the CAPE meeting during the first semester of my freshman year. The CAPE participants unanimously decided to organize a North American planetarium association and to publish a journal. A constitutional committee with participants from each of the seven existing regional affiliates was formed to write the by-laws of the newly formed society. This task was completed in March 1971 and the by-laws were approved by a majority of the regionals by July 1971. Depending on how you look at it, we could

say that IPS started in 1970 with the vote to organize an association of planetarium professionals, or we could say that it started in 1971 when the by-laws were written and ratified. Reading through the documents in the CAPE archives and the early issues of the Planetarian, the early leaders of our Society seemed to favor, in my opinion, the latter viewpoint. If that is the case, 2011 is the 40th anniversary of IPS. Another committee worked to start the journal and the first issue of the Planetarian was dated June 21, 1972. Although our Society, at its inception, used the word “international” in its name, it only existed on one continent. Eleven years ago, in the December 2000 issue of the Planetarian, President Dale Smith gave an overview of the state of IPS and detailed how we had grown from a regional affiliation of North American planetariums to a more global Society. When Dale wrote his message there were twenty regional affiliates. Unfortunately, two of those affiliates have become inactive and are no longer part of IPS. Four new affiliates have joined IPS during the last eleven years, with most recent addition of the Chinese Planetarium Society (CPS) in July of this year. This brings the total number of IPS affiliates to twenty-two. Dale wrote about the possibility of future affiliates in the rest of the world. Some of the areas he mentioned have formed affiliates that are now part of IPS, e.g. Spain, Brazil and China, but there are not yet affiliates in other areas he stated, e.g. the continent of South America, the Mideast/Arabic nations, Eastern Europe or Southeast and eastern Asia.

Signing off I wish you a productive 2012 and hope to personally see many of you at the IPS 2012 conference. I

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December 2011 Planetarian


It’s live and interactive, for planetarians and a symposium

What else can it be but LIPS?

Karrie Berglund

Karrie Berglund, Director of Education Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc.

I am happy to report that the inaugural Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium (LIPS) held in August was a roaring success. Digitalis was honored to host 37 attendees here at our headquarters in Bremerton, Washington. We spent the three days exploring various facets of live programming, including storytelling and presentation skills; questioning strategies; current and future research on planetarium programming; ideas for encouraging repeat attendance; outreach; and more.

LIPS: The back story You may be wondering, “Why another planetarium conference?,” or “Why did a planetarium system vendor organize and host a conference?” Part of the answer is that I used to be on the other side of the street, presenting live, interactive planetarium shows for Seattle’s Pacific Science Center (PSC). I left full time work at PSC in early 2003 to co-found Digitalis with Rob Spearman. I draw heavily on my PSC experiences in

Most of the anabashed participants of the first Live Intractive Planetarium Symposium. Photo by Rob Spearman.

my current job as Digitalis’s director of education. I exhibit at about a dozen conferences per year, including all of the U.S. regional planetarium conferences. I see a lot of vendor demonstrations and talk to many planetarium presenters every year. In my life before Digitalis, I spent about six and a half years doing outreach for PSC’s Science On Wheels program, traveling to elementary and middle schools all over Washington state. At that time, Science On Wheels had two Starlab cylinder-based portable planetariums; they have since upgraded to digital. As with the vast majority of cylinder-based Starlabs, all shows were live and interactive (and still are). I also spent about a year overseeing PSC’s Willard Smith Planetarium. The Smith Planetarium is an 8.2-m dome with concentric bench seating for 40 people; it serves school groups, the public, and private events. When I was working there, the Smith had a Spitz 512 star ball, several slide projectors, a handful of special effects projectors, and Spice automation. Like the Starlab, 100 percent of the shows in the Willard Smith are live and interactive. The presenter moves around the dome and teaches from different points in order to interact with as many people as possible. Although the Smith Planetarium has also since upgrad-

ed to a digital system, the shows there are all still live and interactive. Having been immersed in live planetarium shows for so many years, I cannot imagine not interacting with the audience during a lesson. I personally think that people who buy digital systems only to use them for movie playback are missing out on the best part of the system: the planetarium software and all that it can be used to teach, tailored to your audience’s interests. Simply playing movies for every show is not taking advantage of a digital system’s capabilities. I believe that the immense flexibility of the planetarium software is by far the strongest reason to buy one. However, I and other Digitalis staff have been troubled by a strong trend away from live, interactive programs to simple movie playback. Digital system vendor demonstrations frequently show off primarily or exclusively prerecorded content rather than focusing on the planetarium software features. PIPS meetings and Starlab users group meetings used to center on live programming and teaching techniques, but these meetings stopped several years ago. (The 2011 MAPS meeting, with its theme of “Teaching in the Dark,” was a refreshing change from the status quo.) In short, we were frustrated with this trend, and we felt like someone needed to do some-

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thing to put the focus back on interaction under the dome. Why do we and so many other people feel so strongly about live shows? The main advantages of live shows over prerecorded include: •• You can tailor every lesson to the audience’s interest level and knowledge. •• If the audience does not understand a concept, you can explain it again, perhaps from a different perspective, before continuing. •• Information flows two ways in a live show: From the presenter to the audience, and from the audience to the presenter. This feedback from the audience is critical for confirming understanding and interest. •• Every live show is different, since the audience changes. This helps keep shows fresh for the presenter and the audience. We decided to take action by organizing and hosting LIPS. Our goal was just to get the ball rolling, not to host every year. And Digitalis was not the only vendor to participate at LIPS. The other sponsors (in alphabetical order) were Audio Visual Imagineering, Bowen Technovation, Evans & Sutherland, Go-Dome, Microsoft Research, and Sky-Skan. This implies that there is broad vendor support for this topic.

So, what happened? The 37 attendees came from five countries: the U.S., Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, and Thailand. The need for a conference devoted to live, interactive planetarium lessons obviously spans the globe, and we were ecstatic that people were willing to travel so far for this unique professional development opportunity. Several attendees commented on how much they enjoyed the small group size, since everyone participated in all sessions together. This led to a unique cohesiveness and shared experience that is lacking in large conferences. Approximately 20 sessions or workshops were presented over the entire symposium, many in the “classroom.” Our art deco building was Bremerton’s John Kaufmann Fire Station No. 1 for more than six decades, and what we now use as a classroom was once a house for fire trucks. Other sessions took place in our 6.1-m fixed dome, the Pacific Planetarium. With space for 28 on bench-style seating, the Pacific Planetarium is an intimate space. One of our goals for LIPS 2011 was to enable vendors to actually attend and lead work-

shops, rather than having to sit at a table while all or nearly all of the attendees were elsewhere in sessions. Many vendors used to work in planetariums (and some still do). We have valuable experience and knowledge to share. I really enjoyed being able to attend the LIPS sessions; I learned many things that will help me to do my job better. There was no exhibit hall, so that vendors could participate in sessions. Sponsors in attendance gave short demonstration sessions of equipment and/or content. I hope that planetarium conference organizers will take the LIPS vendor structure and experience into account when deciding exhibit hall hours. The first afternoon was our keynote workshop, “Interactive Performance: Philosophy and Practice” by John Kaufmann. John has a background in theater and improvisational comedy, and he is also a former supervisor of the Willard Smith Planetarium at Pacific Science Center. John is currently an assistant professor in the theater department at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Top: Alan Gould discusses “The Question of Questions” in the LIPS In addition to discussing his classroom. You can see its fire house origins. Bottom: Inside the Pacific Planetarium. Photos by Rob Spearman. performance philosophy, John led us through several participatory activities, such as “Thank you, I’ve front of the group. failed!,” where we learned to embrace and •• Digitalis’ own Arthur Bogard presented sevlearn from our mistakes. In “Left Field,” some eral activities on light and color perception, of us were audience member throwing out using the Pacific Planetarium’s cove lightrandom questions while the presenter found ing system as the light source. ways to steer the answer back to the main There were also round table discussions point of the lesson. In “Frozen Shadows,” we on the challenges of outreach, keeping your used our bodies to model our favorite consteldome open in a bad economy, modifications lations, an example of kinesthetic learning. people have made to help them teach in their Several other presenters led us through ac- domes—such as lights attached to clipboards tivities and demonstrated techniques that to help people complete worksheets in the have worked in their domes. For example: dome—and the future of LIPS. •• Susan Button, former IPS president, writer One of the things that made LIPS different of the “Mobile News” column, and veterfrom standard conferences is that attendees an STARLAB teacher, shared activities and proposed sessions, then people voted on them. worksheets about seasonal changes, celesThe sessions with the highest number of votes tial reference lines and grids, and more. made the final schedule. This technique en•• Karl von Ahnen shared techniques that sured that sessions were applicable to the larghave worked in his 15.2-m Fujitsu Planetarest number of attendees. ium at DeAnza College. This led to a valuable discussion about how dome size affects What does the future hold? That was the topic of a working lunch disthe type of interaction. cussion. While there is concern about con•• Toshi Komatsu discussed the PASS Interact! Activities developed by the Lawrence Hall flicting with IPS 2012, most people believe that LIPS should remain its own separate conof Science, and he demonstrated several in

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Feedback from LIPS attendees “After a live planetarium presentation, audience members should feel like no other audience could have had quite the same experience. This is not simply to make the show unique for its own sake. It is because when an audience feels that they are experiencing a singular presentation, they lean forward, they listen in a different way. “In our increasingly mediated world they recognize, consciously or unconsciously, that if they don’t pay attention, they will have missed something; there will not be a re-run. This is the biggest advantage a live presentation has over a recorded program, and it is too seldom exploited!” John Kaufmann, Beloit College “My expectations about the LIPS-1 symposium were greatly exceeded—largely because of a consistent focus on presentation techniques, best practices, strategies for audience engagement and involvement—and quality control associated with the noblest traditions of theatre. Accordingly, I felt this was one of the most valuable planetarium conferences I have attended in decades. “Although not dismissing technology, participants put far more emphasis on content, on lively interaction, and on memorable experiences. In other words, the focus was on the audience. I felt this group was in the new avant-garde of a movement that could actually see a re-invigoration of a medium we have all known and loved, but which often falls short in terms of audience expectation and delivery. “I was particularly intrigued by the scenario of not having to choose between having “canned shows” versus live, unique, interactive experiences. An ideal presentation could consist of several live segments - bringing immediacy, topical relevance, flexibility and true audience inter-activity - interspersed with high-quality and high production impact, recorded segments...All of this can be woven seamlessly into a truly positive audience experience. Now that’s show business - with a purpose!” Ian McLennan, Ian McLennan Consulting “When all you hear are good reviews before you go to watch a movie, the movie itself is sometimes disappointing because it has been built up too much. I was wondering if LIPS might be the same once I got there, but it exceeded my already high expectations - and I would definitely like to attend LIPS 2012.” Robert Cockcroft, McMaster University “I applaud and thank you, (Digitalis), for picking up the torch in support of live interactive programming in planetariums. It is important that the younger members of our profession, and vendors to boot, are inspired to lead the way.

Lake City, Utah, and the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. My sincere appreciation to both E&S and UND for their willingness to take on the challenge of hosting a conference—I know from experience that it can be quite tiring. An online survey determined the best location and timing for the most people. LIPS 2012 will take place in Notre Dame, Indiana during the week of August 6-10 (exact dates are still to be determined as I am writing this). However, for those of you who will not be able to join us in Notre Dame, there will be LIPS-style workshops and sessions at IPS 2012. I have been working with several other people to make plans for presentation skills Expressions of failure in the “Thank you, I've failed!” activworkshops, sample lessons, teaching ity. Credit: Ian McLennan; used with permission strategies, and more. Stay tuned for updates on that. ference. LIPS is a very focused conference If you would like to get involved with LIPS that works best with a relatively small group, or wish to learn more about its past and fuwhile IPS covers a broad range of topics and ture, visit the website: attracts a fairly large audience. I hope to see you at IPS 2012 LIPS workTwo institutions generously offered to shops and/or at LIPS 2012 at the University of host LIPS 2012: Evans & Sutherland in Salt I Notre Dame!

“In this era of ‘technology rich’ planetariums trying to stay afloat, it is critical for planetariums (and yes, multi-purpose domes included) to embrace what they do best…connect with the audience on a personal level and really engage them in the ‘show.’ “It will be a privilege to continue working with all the dedicated people who are willing to share their ideas and methods for implementing interactive techniques through this strong new initiative.” Susan Button, Quarks to Clusters “We’ve been doing live audience-participation planetarium activities ever since I started working in the Lawrence Hall of Science planetarium back in 1974. “It’s often difficult to hand out objects during a program--even impossible in large planetariums--but it’s way more valuable to establish a setting where visitors are comfortable asking questions. This is best done by the presenter asking questions in a very inviting way and accepting answers from the audience in

from Mario Di Maggio

I went to the planetarium tonight! Tried to tweet you that but my phone was on the fritz :( but I thought of you!! who copped a feel while goin dark in the planetarium room! Lmao It was so tired and very stressful day because of my work. Today, I’ll go to Planetarium. It’ll be great!!!! How could anyone NOT love a planetarium? Jealous.

such a way as to encourage more questions--from the audience. “Our programs, although not recorded, have a ‘narration’ script, but we do not expect presenters to follow the script precisely, because each audience is unique and different questions that crop up can take discussions in different directions from program to program. In fact, the best scripts are sprinkled with great questions to ask. “This also leads to another very important principle: never try to cram ‘all the material’ into a show, especially if the audience gets animated and excited talking about one of the program topics. It’s best to cultivate the art of gracefully ending a show even though you have not reached “the end.”Our first Director, Alan Friedman, said ‘It’s always best to leave them wanting more.’ Way better than trying to cram their heads full of information, no matter how fascinating the script-writer thinks it may be.” Alan Gould, Lawrence Hall of Science

I´m TIRED and I have DREAM!, but I´m happy ´cause I´m fine with my family and that I have a travel to the planetarium soon Our school is too cheap to get My locker a number plate but half hollow east has a planetarium. Legit. I am an astronaut, my coworker is Carl Sagan, and the planetarium staff is the coolest staff in the entire Science Center. Hands down. I’m sitting in a large blow up planetarium. Interesting. Until I saw that show at the Planetarium I had no idea how stupid the sun is.

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The imagination and creativity of our original digital dome productions are so fantastic, you’ll think our animators actually live in space. Or at least get to borrow the keys to the Hubble on the weekends. Talk to us about what these productions will do for your planetarium. Contact Mike Murray at mmurray@ • 801-456-4949 •

December 2011 Planetarian


A payment in planetariums, and Rio still benefits 40 years later Alex Cherman PanetĂĄrio do Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil 22451-070

The Rio de Janeiro planetarium first opened to the public in 1970. It is important to note that it is not the first planetarium in South America. This honor belongs to the Montevideo Planetarium in Uruguay (established in 1955).

So: what is so special about the Rio de Janeiro Planetarium? Well, it is definitely the largest and busiest planetarium in Brazil and South America, and, in my opinion, one of the most important in the Southern Hemisphere! The history of the Rio Planetarium starts in an unusual way. East Germany had some debts with the Brazilian government. Both countries agreed that part of the obligation could be paid in goods, and that one of these goods could be planeTop: Future grounds of the planetarium, in the tariums. 1960s. It was a very underprivileged living area; its The bilateral agreeinhabitants were relocated to a housing project ment was signed in built just in front (the wavy building in the picture). Next Row, left: during construction, 1970s, and the July, 1969, and soon afSpacemaster at work, early the same decade. Beter that, six Zeiss Spacelow: The Rio Planetarium today, with the new dome master projectors were dwarfing the old, and the Spacemaster in its place shipped to Brazil. One of honor. All photos courtesy of the Rio de Janeiro Planetarium Archives. of these projectors was donated to the local Rio de Janeiro government. The Rio Planetarium opened to the public in November 19, 1970. Its dome was 12.5 m and it had 130 concentric seats, surrounding the very hip Zeiss Spacemaster projector. And it served us well for quite some time. Rio is the informal astronomy capital of Brazil. For more than 50 years, its Federal University hosted the only astronomy bachelor program in the country. The city also has two distinct observatories and the Museum of Astronomy. It was only natural that the Rio Planetarium would thrive. Its destiny was obvious: the Rio Planetarium had to grow. And grow it did! In 1998, it became the first planetarium in Brazil to have two domes. By that time, the original dome had been already named after Galileo Galilei. The new dome, 23 m in diameter and with 277 seats, hosting a Zeiss Universarium VIII, was originally called Carl Zeiss, which later changed to Carl Sagan. The new dome was built as the main feature of the brand new Museum of

We are also not the first in Brazil (that would be SĂŁo Paulo Planetarium, established in 1957), and we are not even the first in Rio de Janeiro (the Navy Academy has had a planetarium, not open to the general audience, since 1961).

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How we do it Tips and tricks to share

Simple scheduling for your theater Adam Thanz Astronomy & Space Sciences Program Coordinator Planetarium Director Bays Mountain Planetarium 853 Bays Mountain Park Road Kingsport, TN 37660 This is for all of you who might want to take advantage of a free service we’ve been using at Bays Mountain for a number of years now. It is Google Calendar. Even if you already know about this it, you may not know that you can design it to be a calendar your whole work place can use as a team. To not be confused, this regular calendar feature that is available to anybody is different from the business class version that Google has available for a cost. This is the regular, free version I am discussing. To make the calendar effective, there are a few things to set up first. First, we set up a Google account that is not specific to a certain person. Once you have that Google account, you can set up your calendar. In order to keep things organized, we have a special sub-calendar for each of our main categories (or types of programs) that we schedule. These sub-calendars are within the Google main calendar interface. As a result, we have 11 sub-calendars. One is for planetarium programs, one is for nature programs, one is for staff official use (for sick leave and vacation), and so on. The benefit of multiple calendars is to keep programming organized. You can toggle them on and off to reduce clutter on your monitor, and you can also set them in different colors. An entry within a particular sub-calendar may be a show, set to length and starting time. The color indicates the type, and an entry can include notes as to the school group, number for attendance, grade level, etc. There is another place for detailed notes, like phone numbers and such. There are a variety of ways you can view the calendars. Daily, multidays, weekly, monthly, multi-monthly, daily agenda list, etc. When viewing a complex day on a monitor with lots of entries, the entries will overlap. But they do not overlap when printing, so we have a printed schedule each day at the front desk so we can all see it without having to go to our offices. We started using our old scheduling method in 1971. It consisted of a three-ring binder with two page sides for each day. We had four columns: planetarium, nature, volunteers, and other. It was all penciled in, sometimes haphazardly, and was rarely at its appointed place. Imagine 15 people trying to find the binder, schedule programs and write them in, while others just wanted to looking at it so they knew what the day’s events were! If it was busy and if there were corrections, the pages became a mess. It became obvious that the book was fine in the past, but not now. When we’re busy, our calendar can have 30+ entries. Just today, as I finalize this article on September 30, 2011, we have 27 entries. This is a mildly busy day for us. (Continues on Page 26)

The main calendar interface. On the left are all the calendars a person who has sharing is subscribed to. All the events are in their correct time slots, along with pertinent information. All-day entries are on the top. Any sensitive names have been blurred out for this article.

Detailed information page for a specific entry. On top is the data that is seen on the main calendar page. The data below can only be seen on this page (used for phone numbers, names, etc.).

Access page to all sub-calendars. Click on sharing link to set who can see what.

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Detailed page for a specific sub-calendar. Set who can see the calendar and to what level of access.

(Scheduling, continued from Page 24)

So how does this benefit more than just you? You can share each calendar with others at work and also control if they only view the calendar or if they can modify it (add, move, remove events) as well. Access settings for a specific person for a speIf you want, you can cific sub-calendar. The top level allows a person to edit, but also say who else can see a caleven have specific subendar. The second level allows editing (add, calendars show up on remove, modify) entries. The third level alyour public website. lows seeing the calendar, but nothing else. The Another viewing opfourth level doesn’t see any details other than if a time slot is occupied or not. portunity is via your phone, and you can sync the calendars with other calendar programs like iCal, Outlook, or Sunbird. I recommend that only a small number of folks be allowed to mod-

What a printed page looks like for a specific day. Notice nothing overlaps and is very simple to read.

ify the calendars. Too many hands can mess things up. The only thing required for sharing is a Google account; using Google Mail (Gmail) is not required. For ease of daily use, I have the link to my main Google calendar web page set up to open upon booting up my computer so I can see it all day. The benefits are many. It is free. There doesn’t seem to be a limit on the sub-calendars. It can be shared with any number of other people. You can see it from any type of computer anywhere in the world. You only need internet access and a web browser. You can see it on your cell phone. You can back up the files anytime (which I recommend doing occasionally). It does not require a computer server for your facility. You can add or remove entire calendars if you need, whenever you need. Give the Google calendar a try; if you don’t like it, you can remove it without any risk. At Bays Mountain we’ve been using the service since September 2008. The 21 people accessing all the sub-calendars with different levels of control every day have had almost no problems. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at I

(Rio, continued from Page 22) the Universe, a three-story-high building that joined, and dwarfed, the original building. Even though the building and the dome were ready in 1998, only the new dome opened. It took us another five years to get our exhibitions going. The Museum of the Universe opened in 2002. And, as the new building and the new dome became a must-see by locals and tourists alike, the old dome, just a few meters away, started to fade from the headlines. Its main target audience became the preschoolers (since it was a horizontal dome, not a tilted dome like the new one) and skywatchers (for the same reason, since the horizon really makes a difference if you are interested in skywatching).

By then, the old Spacemaster projector was already more than 30 years old. In 2008, the Rio Planetarium went digital. We opened a third dome, in a remote location, and we are very proud to say that we were the very first digital planetarium to open to the public in Brazil. It runs on an Evans & Sutherland Digistar 3 system and has 88 seats. With a not-so-new huge dome and a brandnew digital dome, the original Galileo Galilei dome became more and more a fond, but fading, memory in people’s minds. The old Spacemaster was about to turn 40 and it was becoming a very high-maintenance item. Its cost-benefit relation was getting worst by the month. Parts were hard to find, servicing it was expensive.

The decision was made in 2011 that the Spacemaster projector would be retired and new equipment would be installed. The Rio Planetarium was about to open its second digital dome. The dome itself went into full reconstruction. The only thing left was the concrete structure and the bronze dome from the outside. Everything else was replaced. A new projection screen was made locally. New chairs were bought. New lighting, new curtains, new floor. And, on August 31, 2011, the new Galileo Galilei dome made its debut. It is still 12.5-m dome, but it now has 90 unidirectional seats and hosts a 6-channel RSACosmos/BARCO projection system. The old Spacemaster sits in a place of honor on the Museum of the Universe’s main floor. I

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Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong Brisbane, Australia 4066 With the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium behind, the Planetarium’s Curator Mark Rigby stands beside the popular bronze statue of the Russian Father of Cosmonautics Konstanin Tsiolkovsky, which was donated by the Russian organisation Dialogue of Cultures-United World. Photo by Duncan Waldron.

By Mark Rigby, Curator Located on the eastern seaboard of Australia is Brisbane, the country’s third largest city and home to its only stand-alone planetarium. Brisbane also has the distinction of being the only major city named for an astronomer. The Brisbane City Council opened the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium on 24 May 1978 and named it after the early governor of the colony of New South Wales in the 1820s, who personally funded the building and staffing of Australia’s first significant observatory. The planetarium, popular with both the general public and school groups, is located in the beautiful Brisbane Botanic Gardens, about a 15-minute drive to the west of the city centre. The facility has a star theatre (re-named the “Cosmic Skydome” in 1992), a mini theatre, foyer, display gallery, shop, observatory, offices and workshop. There are four full-time and six casual employees. When we opened in 1978, the star theatre was equipped with 144 seats (now 128) arranged concentrically around a Zeiss Spacemaster projector under the 12.5-m projection dome. Technical staff constructed and maintained special effects projectors and most of the shows were produced in-house. In March 2004, the planetarium was the first in the country to officially launch with fulldome technology using a Sky-Skan system and eight Barco 700 series projectors. Perth’s Horizon Planetarium also opened with a fulldome system around that time. Using eight projectors meant that we could retain the Zeiss Spacemaster, which was not equipped with a lift. In 2010, we again upgraded our Sky-Skan definiti system with the Barcos being replaced by six JVC RS2 DLP projectors and the Zeiss projector removed. We also installed new lighting, sound and infrared hearing assistance systems. We are now planning to install a new opto-mechanical star projector for hybrid operations with the current definiti system and will probably replace the projection dome as well. The current schedule is to do this in early 2013, in time for our 35th anniversary, and we will probably offer to host the Australasian Planetarium Society conference at that time. Outside of the Cosmic Skydome, admission is free to the foyer and gallery displays, as well as the 40-seat seat mini theatre, which

is used extensively for the Space Telescope Science Institute’s excellent and popular ViewSpace. We hope to upgrade many of the displays in early 2013 if funding permits. The shop carries a wide range of astronomy and general science items as well as novelty and souvenir items. While offering a service to patrons, the revenue from this also helps offset some of our front-of-house costs and our prices are very competitive with other science and museum venues. Our emphasis since opening has always been on live presentations, with school shows featuring live content by the fulltime planetarium astronomers. Shows feature constant interaction with the students and then an opportunity for the students to ask the planetarium astronomer questions toward the end. Programs are pitched to a level determined by the first school group to make a booking for that session. If I have had a personal audience preference in my 27 years at the Brisbane Planetarium, it is for the young children and their abundant enthusiasm, wonder and stimulating questions. Capturing their sense of curiosity early is important. I’ll never forget one of my staff bringing in an excited 5-yearold boy to see my office full of space and astronomy memorabilia, whereupon he presented me with his very impressive business card bearing the title “Trainee Astrophysicist.” Such encounters remind me of my own youth and the thrill of discovering the night sky and following the early space missions. One never knows where that fostering of dreams will lead young members of the audience. While only a small fraction of students may go into the field of astronomy, I see our role as giving everyone a better appreciation of their cosmic environment and the foundation for looking after our home planet.

A favorite for the community Approximately 100,000 people visit the planetarium annually, with nearly 60,000 attending some 1,300 sessions in the Cosmic Skydome, which operates from Tuesday to Sunday. Nearly two-thirds of Skydome patrons are general public, who can experience a wide selection of fulldome shows from around the world in any given week, amongst them Cosmic Collisions from the American Museum of Natural History, Mirage3D’s Dawn of the Space Age, Clarke Planetarium’s Secret of the Cardboard Rocket, Black Holes: Journey into the

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“Teaching in the Dark”

Integrating reading with the planetarium John C. Scala Lenape Valley Regional High School Stanhope, New Jersey 07874

John Scala

“In precisely twenty-two days and some hours, the sun will get erased from the sky, the planets will come out to greet us, the birds will stop singing, and a glowing halo of light will flutter like angel’s wings above our heads- except, of course, if it rains.” With these sentiments, award-winning young reader’s author Wendy Mass sets the stage for her 2008 novel Every Soul A Star. She takes the title from the words of Plato: “and when he [the author of the Universe] had compounded the whole, he divided it up into as many souls as there are stars, and allotted each soul to a star. And mounting them on their stars, as if on chariots, he showed them the nature of the universe and told them the laws of their destiny.” The novel centers on an upcoming total solar eclipse and its impact on the lives of three young people. Ally, Bree, and Jack lead very different lives, but are drawn together for the eclipse at the Moon Shadow Campground. Along the way each experiences a set of life-altering circumstances. Ms. Mass has cleverly demonstrated her ability to get into the minds of these 12- and 13-year-olds that will make readers of any age gasp, weep, giggle, and sigh as the story unfolds.

Full of astronomy concepts What makes this novel worthy of attention to the planetarium community is its infusion of astronomy-related concepts. The total solar eclipse itself could almost be considered a character, yet it is only one of many topics dealing with the sky that Ms. Mass incorporates into her coming-of-age tale. In between the drama, the book serves as a primer for naked eye astronomy. Topics such as dark matter, exoplanets, and SETI are seamlessly woven throughout the story lines.

We learn early in the story that Ally is short for Alpha, the Greek letter assigned to the brightest star of a given constellation. Ally and her family own and operate the Moon Shadow Campground. She services and maintains several types of telescopes there, and provides planetarium-style night time lectures under the real sky through use of her green laser pointer. Her best friends are Eta, Glenn, and Peggy, who turn out to be the stars Eta Cassiopeia, Gliese 581, and 51 Pegasi. They were introduced to her by her grandfather, who presented Ally with a necklace sporting a piece of a meteorite that she wears all the time. Bree is the world’s latest up and coming supermodel (at least in her own mind). Her parents are astrophysicists, concentrating on the mysteries of dark matter. Expert on all there is to know on fashion, accessories, and makeup, Bree is devastated to learn that her parents will be taking over the operation of the Moon Shadow Campground. This, of course, means that Ally and her family will be leaving, immediately after the coming eclipse. The two girls become unlikely partners in their quest to undo the plans forced upon their lives by their respective parents. Jack is lacking in self esteem and self confidence. His father abandoned Jack’s mom before he was born. Described by his second grade teacher as having two left feet, his main desire in life is to left alone so he can read his fantasy and science fiction books, and practice his drawings of aliens, monsters, and wizards. Jack, therefore, is totally taken by surprise when his science teacher asks him to spend part of his summer helping out on an eclipse chasing trip to the Moon Shadow Campground. His teacher is also involved with a

SETI project, searching for the first signals aliens might be beaming in our way. Jack comes into his own during the trip to the campground, where he meets Ally and Bree.

Lessons in the text As these three lead characters establish themselves in the story, readers learn about the workings of refraction and reflection telescopes; Messier’s search for comets and the making of his famous list of fuzzy non-comet objects, nebulae and galaxies and what they are; meteors and meteorites; the planets; and, of course, the constellations. Ms. Mass clearly demonstrates her knowledge of searching through the sky using the Big Dipper to find the North Star, and relating how its altitude is equivalent to one’s latitude. She discusses the Summer Triangle, and its usefulness to ancient star watchers. The SETI theme centered on Jack is tied into Ally’s three best “friends” in Cassiopeia, Libra, and Pegasus. And at the heart of it all is the total solar eclipse. Quoting from the novel: The sun is almost completely gone now, leaving a deep blue-black sky behind. All around the far horizon I can see a yellow-orange glow where the eclipse doesn’t reach. It’s like a huge circle of sunset… a huge wall of darkness pushes toward us from the direction of the sunit zooms through us like a wall of ghosts, faster than I’ve ever seen anything move. It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. And then a few seconds later the sun completely disappears, leaving a hole in the sky. I feel its loss in the pit of my stomach… streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of (Continues on Page 32)

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How did life on Earth begin? This tantalizing question forms the basis of the Morrison Planetarium’s most recent production, Life: A Cosmic Story. Narrated by Academy Award winner Jodie Foster, the show launches the audience on a journey through time, witnessing key events since the Big Bang that set the stage for life. Visualizations drive the narrative—from turbulent, star- and planet-forming giant molecular clouds to the microscopic activity of photosynthesis—in what the New York Times calls “a visually spectacular demonstration.” Named the 2011 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s Best Fulldome Program.

IMMERSE + ENGAGE Fulldome science storytelling from the california academy of sciences

FRAGILE PLANET Earth’s Place in the Universe

Travel 120 light years to rediscover home! Sigourney Weaver guides audiences on an immersive excursion that explores a Universe filled with the possibility of life. This visually rich program is grounded in observed data, with an evocative, multi-dimensional sound environment by renowned giant screen composer Michael Stearns. Develop a renewed appreciation for our fragile planet through the lens of astronomy. For more information contact: Maral Papakhian 415 379 5127 For full-length previews of both shows visit: username “d0mesh0ws”* December 2011 Planetarian password “m0rris0n”* *use number "0" instead of letter "O."


(Reading, continued from Page 30) a butterfly. I realize that I never saw real beauty until now. And one thought fills my head- If this could be repeated every day for a year, I would never budge from where I stood. I was approached by Ms. Mass to serve as one of her technical reviewers as her book was being finalized for its printing. Upon its publication, I crafted a planetarium program titled The Skies over Moon Shadow Campground. Most of my advertisements were directed to local middle/junior high schools, where I pleasantly discovered many of them were engaged in the reading of the novel as part of their English/humanities/literature curricula. Ms. Mass graciously agreed to attend several of my planetarium events, after which she autographed copies of her book for those in attendance. The book lends itself so easily to what the planetarium was designed to do- showcase the visible sky. I have included as an appendix a list of astronomical topics and concepts included in the novel. With Ms. Mass’s permission, I have also included information posted on her website ( For those facilities with a gift shop, I recommend stocking copies of the novel (now in pa-

perback), or, if you are a school planetarium, seeing that a copy is part of your media center/library collection. Mention the book to your reading teachers/curriculum supervisors, and create an interdisciplinary opportu-

nity to teach in the dark. Every Soul a Star is a wonderful read, and as planetarium professionals, you might recognize hints of yourselves when you were young in the stories of Ally, Bree, and Jack. I

What follows is a list of astronomy-related topics mentioned in the novel Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass. This list is meant to provide you with a sense of just how extensively astronomy plays its part in the novel. Andromeda Galaxy Asteroids Aurora Borealis Baily’s Beads Betelgeuse Big Dipper Capella Cassini spacecraft Cassiopeia CCD’s Chromosphere Comets Constellations Corona Dark adaptation Dark Enenergy Dark Matter Declination Diamond Ring effect

(One Dome, continued from Page 28) Unknown from Melbourne Planetarium, and others. All of these are followed by our live night sky segment. For uni-directional shows, we use only two of the three seating sections and generally about 85 of the 128 seats. A typical week can see 26 shows, while 30 sessions are scheduled in school holidays. For the past few years, we have been presenting Saturday Night Live (SNL) on a weekly basis; although we sometimes do this solo, it usually involves one of us “flying” using DigitalSky 2 and Digital Universe, while the other presents a fast-paced program that commences with a tour of Brisbane’s night sky before lifting off for a flight around the Earth and then outward around the moon, past a couple of planets, and ever further through the galaxy and beyond. We use the program to highlight topical issues, whether they are space debris, new planetary missions or discoveries far beyond the limits of the solar system. The facility’s observatory is equipped with a 15-cm Zeiss Coudé refractor and a 20-cm Meade LX90 reflector. We schedule observatory sessions on most Saturday nights and endeavour to view objects mentioned in SNL. The firm Coudé mount allows Smartphone-equipped visitors to take away souvenir images of the moon and planets. Since the observatory does not have disabled access, we will soon be implementing observing in our sundial court for disabled persons using another two portable instruments and a monitor linked to one of them. Over the years, we have run major public observing nights on adjacent lawns in conjunction with local astronomical societies. The most successful was a Mars Night in 2003, when an estimated 4,000 people turned up with many more unable to find parking. We also run mini shows in the Cosmic Skydome on such nights. Part of our success has come from our excellent relationship over

Eclipses Eta Cassiopeia Exoplanets Gliese 581 GPS auto finders (telescopes) International Space Station (ISS) Jupiter Libra Light Pollution Light Years Magnitude Mars Messier Objects Meteorites Meteoroids Meteors Milky Way

Moon Mylar lenses Near Earth Objects Night Vision North Star Northern Lights Orion Orion Nebula Pegasus Perseids Polaris Prominence 51 Pegasi Reflection (telescope) Refraction (telescope) Rigel Right ascension

Rings (planetary) Saturn “seeing” SETI Shooting stars Sirius Solar filters Space junk Star Party Stellar evolution (death of the Sun) Summer triangle Sun Telescopes Totality Venus Zodiac

decades with all forms of media, and the main television stations are located only a short drive from us. As well as commenting on astronomy and space news, we have had a lot of interaction over the decades with children’s television programs produced for national viewing. Like many similar facilities, we have faced our challenges over the years and they continue, although I have to say that we have had great support from our parent organisation in recent years in ensuring we are well resourced. Perhaps our greatest single challenge comes indirectly from one that is facing schools: the cost of transport to and from the planetarium. Even if we were free, this would still be an issue for some. We provide free family passes to schools that support us, to assist with their fundraising efforts and fetes. We advertise in tourist publications and local newspapers, and sometimes take up space on roadside billboards. As we come under the Brisbane City Council, which operates more than a thousand public transport buses, we are frequently able to take advantage of advertising on the backs of buses at a very good rate so our advertising is constantly on the move. We also make use of a major banner facing one of the main bridges coming into the city and are introducing the use of show trailers on screens in public places in the city centre. Since 1978, the information we have to present to the public and schools has exploded and the internet is accessible to most. This makes it a never-ending challenge to make sure that we are up-to-date. And, it is important that no matter what we present, it must be entertaining. The tools of the trade have changed for us at the Brisbane Planetarium, but the mission remains to educate and inspire all those who step through the doors of the Cosmic Skydome—to open their eyes I to the wonders of the Cosmos of which they are part.

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December 2011

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December 2011


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Since its debut, the beloved Magic Tree House® book series has been a perennial best-seller. Published in more than 30 countries and 29 languages, the series focusing on the exploits of the brother-sister team of Jack and Annie has sold more than 70 million books in North America alone. Now, UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, in partnership with authors Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne, brings the blockbuster Magic Tree House® franchise to fulldome theaters for the first time ever. In Magic Tree House® Space Mission, a mysterious “M” sends the intrepid Jack and Annie on a fun-filled journey to discover the secrets of the Sun, Moon, planets, space travel and more. Aligned with early elementary information skills learning objectives, this beautifully-produced show is a winner with Magic Tree House® fans of all ages and school audiences alike. Audiences age 5-10. Running Time: 30 minutes. An original UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center production, written by Will Osborne, co-author of Space, the non-fiction companion and research guide to the Magic Tree House® book Midnight on the Moon. Magic Tree House® Space Mission is available exclusively from Sky-Skan distribution. To view a show preview or receive pricing information, visit or call +1 603-880-8500 or e-mail December 2011 Planetarian


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Four Shows For Fulldome From The Giant Screen Take advantage of stunning giant screen quality with these films formatted for fulldome. Sea Monsters, Forces of Nature, and Bugs! were digitally scanned and reformatted for the dome using Sky-Skan’s flat-screen to dome transformation process. For Solar Storms, Sky-Skan accessed the original animation files, adding spherical stereo cameras and re-rendering each scene to take full advantage of the fulldome environment. We’re proud to provide quality titles that both excite and educate.

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Solar Storms Available in 2D and 3D stereo. Length: 20 minutes. A Melrae Pictures production in association with K2 Communications. Developed with the assistance of NASA and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Fulldome Version Produced and Distributed Exclusively By Sky-Skan.

Sea Monsters Available in 2D and 3D stereo. Length: 40 minutes. Transformed from giant-screen film by Sky-Skan. Produced by National Geographic. Transform coverage is truncated from fulldome.

Forces of Nature Previewing these shows is easy! Just request a DVD by sending an e-mail to with the shows you’d like to see and your mailing address. If you’d like pricing, then please include your annual attendance, approximate number of seats, and dome size.

View Our Complete Catalog On-line Sky-Skan’s distribution catalog now has over 80 titles! You can browse them online and watch preview videos for many of the shows at our website:

Length: 40 minutes. Transformed from giant-screen film by Sky-Skan. Produced by National Geographic and Graphic Films, Inc. Transform coverage is truncated from fulldome.

Bugs! Available in 2D and 3D stereo. Length: 23 or 40 minute versions. Transformed from giant-screen film by Sky-Skan. Produced by Principal Large Format and SK Films. Transform coverage is truncated from fulldome. | Americas/Pacific tel +1 603-880-8500, | Europe tel +49 89-6428-9231, | Australia/Asia tel +61 3-9372-6444, 36 Planetarian December 2011 S11-a08-01

Educational Horizons Jack L. Northrup Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Planetarium King Science and Technology Magnet Center 3720 Florence Blvd., Omaha, Nebraska 68110 USA +1 402-557-4494

There are many moments that we all wish we could travel back in time and make a little change. Mine right now is to go back in time and switch this article with my September 2011 Planetarian article. The topic of this article is the start of school, when we did an experiment at King Science and Technology Magnet. Even though I had this issue’s topic basically outlined for the September issue, I was wary to submit it because I did not know the outcome of the experiment. So, please treat this as a suggestion for you to start planning for the start of the next school year.

morning and regular classes in the afternoon.

What we have done in the past

How was 2011-2012 different

In previous years we decided on a gradeby-grade basis how to handle the first two days of school. Some grades, for example, did not have their students rotate through their schedule and had them stay in homeroom for two days to learn the policies and procedures of our school. Others did team building in the

We decided to have the students stay in homeroom, in small group workshops, and in large group team building for the first week of school. You read that correctly: we did not start teaching content until day 6 of the school year. Homeroom handled many of the policy

Our reasoning for change Over the last few years we have noticed that our student teams have become internally fragmented and had difficulties reaching our expectation goals, academically and behaviorally. We extensively use the 40 Developmental Assets and Middle Level Best Practices, but decided that we needed to present a unified front to the students, lest they would go through a mental reset when they changed classes or teachers.

and procedures parts of life at KSTM. Small group workshops were used to look at SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goal setting, My True Colors, and multiple intelligences activities. We had the team building and motivational group Youth Frontiers come and do day-long retreats with each grade level individually; seventh and eighth grade focused on courage and fifth and sixth grades focused on kindness. This was followed by a workshop for the staff titled honor that focused on how we can work together across grade levels and departments.

Now we are half way through A very apparent change is the the cohesiveness of the grade levels now. Before it was difficult to get an entire group to work together for a common goal. Now, the entire seventh and eighth grades are working to pass the state math exam, including creating peer tutor systems and creating structures within the school to support the community. It also worked to unify many of the classroom’s rules and procedures as well as develop a common language for expectations.

Leap ahead to the now This year, when school return after the December break, I have a suggestion for a quick and engaging activity to try with your younger groups. In the northern hemisphere we are (Continues on Page 38)

Balloon Time Time it stuck to your body Groups

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3


Group 1 Group 2

Tape to Tape Reaction Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Sticky to Not Sticky Trial 2 Trial 3 Sticky to Sticky Trial 2 Trial 3

Static Chopsticks Reaction Wool




Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Summary

December 2011 Planetarian


A for the

The idea of setting aside parks simply for their dark skies is a relatively new one, and an unfortunate necessity for everyone who loves the stars. The International Dark-Sky Association realized this need, and started a program called International Dark Sky Park (IDSPark) as one of its efforts to promote stewardship of the night sky. A 1,000+-acre preserve called Observatory Park, located in Geauga County, Ohio (northeast part of the state), has become the latest member of the IDSA’s program. From the IDA press release: The idea for Observatory Park began with the donation of a 25-in telescope and a small parcel of land. Several years later, the park acquired nationally recognized Nassau Observatory and the land adjacent to it. Ironically, Nassau Observatory was moved from Cleveland to Geauga County in 1957 due to increasing light pollution. The finished park, with an observatory, two telescopes, and permanent astronomy-themed exhibits on a 1,034-acre preserve in Monteville Township, provides an exciting link to the history of astronomy in Ohio while creating resources for the future. Refurbishment of Nassau is anticipated. In 2008, the park earned provisional dark sky status during construction for its ambitious plans for lighting, education, and conservation. Observatory Park is the first park of the Geauga Park District to apply for full International Dark Sky Park status and the first park ever to receive provisional status. It is the eighth International Dark Sky Park in the world. The park district also has a mission of protecting wildlife habitat, including unspoiled forests and wetlands. Science professionals from numerous universities, the Great Lakes Science Center and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History collaborated with local astronomy organizations and school districts for Observatory Park’s programs and design. Astronomy-inspired interactive sculptures adorn the site. A seismograph and weather station displays live feeds of local atmospheric conditions, and five tele-

The Education center at the Geauga Park District’s Observatory Park. The dome in the ceiling is, indeed, for a planetarium. Photo by Sandy Ward, courtesy of Geauga Park District.

scope pads with electrical outlets invite stargazing. The telescope in the central plaza will be open for public events, including star parties, celestial occurrences, and collaborations with local groups and non-profit organizations. All park lighting is fully shielded and task specific. LED fixtures in the public event cen-

ter and parking lot have source controls to adjust automatically, dimming during a full moon. Geauga Park District management is attempting to retrofit all of the lights in its many parks to conform to IDS guidelines. For more, see the Geauga Park District’s web site at I

(Education, continued from Page 37) in winter, so southern hemisphere planetariums should hold on to this activity until July, when the humidity is low to allow for the build up of substantial amounts of static electricity. I put up a kit of balloons, cellophane tape, swatches of wool, rayon, and cotton, and plastic chopsticks. In grade 4, students are learning about the parts of an atom. As the lesson starts we a quick poll of the audience as to what they think are inside of atoms. To make it easier, I have a list of terms to have the students vote on: Electricity Electron Magnetism Neutron Proton Socks After a quick discussion of the items that make the cut, I like to tell them we can "steal" and give electrons, but we need a particle accelerator to move the protons and neutrons, and the school district just doesn't have the budget for it. Divide the students into reasonably-sized groups (not be more than 5), and give them parts of the kit.

Balloons can become charged when rubbed against hair, sweaters, or hoodies.(I suggest helium grade balloons; if a student has a latex allergy, move them to another group.) Have the student time how long a charged balloon will stick to their body/head. Cellophane tape, when layered and then pulled apart quickly, will display a charge. Have the students experiment on what happens if the sticky sides are together prior to the pull apart. Rub the chopstick with a swatch of cloth and see if it will attract, repel, or non-react with piece of tape. Have the students try different types of clothes; to discharge the chopsticks between tests, I have the students tap on the metal part of the chair. Now is the step that their math teacher will love you for: charting the data. When I did this activity last winter it was directly before we did a presentation on spectrums that mentions electrons moving to higher energy levels and then dropping back to their resting state. On the post visit evaluations the students and the teachers reported that they had a better understanding of how electrons move around the atom and the baI sics of ionization.

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December 2011

The revolutionary power of Digistar 4 is now portable. The new Digistar Outreach uses a single DLP video projector with a fisheye lens, bringing uncompromising big screen planetarium experiences to inflatable domes. From a simple iPad interface, you can harness the power of Digistar to reach out to your community in ways you never thought possible.


December 2011 Planetarian



IMERSA News Judith Rubin Communications Director,

IMERSA 2012 Summit The 2012 IMERSA Summit is set to take place 3-5 February 2012 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). “Lessons from our past, Visualizing our future—Winning solutions for the digital dome” is the theme. Registration is open at Attendance will be limited to the capacity of the DMNS’ Gates Planetarium (about 120. “We have a lot to talk about on the creative side, technology side and the business side,” says IMERSA Co-Founder Dan Neafus, director of the Gates Planetarium. “This summit will be a conversation where we can share the wisdom, look at what works, what needs to be done differently, what tools there are and what tools still need to be developed or improved—and move forward.” There will be

fulldome film screenings in the Gates Planetarium, keynote speakers, panels, workshops, vendor presentations, and special achievement recognition. An optional Fulldome 101 educational session (separate registration; limit 20) will take place on 3 February. There is also an optional post-summit ski trip on 5-7 February. Previous IMERSA Summits have taken place in conjunction with IPS (2008) and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Media Symposium (2010). This will be IMERSA’s first independent summit. Contact info@imersa. org for more details.

At the Jackson Hole festival

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (JHWFF) took place in October in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and included numerous fulldome components, not the least of which was the 44-foot temporary outdoor dome theater (it greatly resembled an igloo, especially after 8” of snow fell on the last day of the festival). The EarthMatters Dome Experience was produced by Global Immersion, and used their Fidelity Bright system to showcase a variety of fulldome films in addition to workshops and the three finalist films chosen by the festival. The mobile dome was provided by Vortex Immersion Media, and featured a nearly seamless negative pressure fabric screen. Set up on a parking lot near Yellowstone, participants made the most of the opportunity and opened the dome up to local school kids to attend a Uniview tour of the universe, jointly guided by IMERSA’s Dan Neafus and Ryan Wyatt. Neafus and Wyatt report that the filmmaking community that attends JHWFF continues to show great interest in fulldome and several filmTop: From left, Ryan Wyatt, Ed Lantz, Tom Kennedy and Dan Neafus at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Below: Lantz in front makers would like to work in of the “igloo.” Images provided by IMERSA. the field, so they are waiting

with anticipation for the big fulldome camera breakthrough to happen while also keeping an eye on the size of the theater network. Tom Kennedy (California Academy of Sciences) brought a vintage 8mm Nikkor fisheye lens that received a lot of attention. Discussion with 3D film producers, videographers and editors uncovered useful commonalities with dome show production in such things as setting up shots, optimal kinds of camera movements and pacing, and enhancing dimensionality of individual scenes. JHWFF created a separate category for fulldome this year. The award for Best Fulldome Program went to Life: A Cosmic Story from the California Academy of Sciences.

Kepler Project at Cal Academy In collaboration with Motion Institute, the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences premiered The Kepler Project, a play about Johannes Kepler that makes use of fulldome visuals and solo performance to tell the story of one of history’s great scientists. The play, written and directed by Nina Wise and performed by Scott Coopwood, captures Kepler’s unique capacity to integrate a worldview steeped in mysticism with a rigorous scientific perspective based on observation and experimentation. Zoë Keating composed and performed a multi-layered soundtrack steeped in the “harmony of the spheres” derived by Kepler himself. The fulldome sequences, primarily programmed in Sky-Skan’s real-time DigitalSky software, allow audiences to experience Kepler’s inner life and thoughts, featuring reproductions of Ptolemaic and Copernican systems as well as the elliptical orbits that Kepler devised. Tim Horn designed and programmed the fulldome sequences, based on concepts by Ryan Wyatt. The play’s finale features a fourminute piece (nicknamed “The Kepler Oscillator”) commissioned from Jan Zehn and Stefan Berke of Cymatrix, creators familiar to attendees of the Jena FullDome Festival. Four showings during the month of November welcomed more than a thousand attendees as part of the Academy’s weekly NightLife Program (as well as more than a hundred middle school students at a morning presentation), and the final evening featured educational programs about space, astronomy, and the Kepler Mission, as well as a showing of the 2009 Star Trek film in the Academy’s 3D Theater. Motion Institute welcomes opportunities to tour The Kepler Project, and the Academy staff will share programming created especially for the play. More on the Kepler Project is available at and (Continues on Page 42)

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December 2011


Witness the mythic beauty of real auroras in spectacular fulldome time-lapse photography

A New Fulldome Show From Evans & Sutherland Digital Theater Productions

Digital Theater December 2011 Planetarian


(IMERSA, continued from Page 40) Fulldome database launches Astronomer and fulldome enthusiast Dario Tiveron recently launched his new project, FDDB—The Fulldome Database. FDDB is a show-oriented online database of information about fulldome shows, either produced by private companies, by planetariums or by independent filmmakers. The environment is set up to allow users to browse the shows dynamically, not only by title, but also by lots of other parameters, such as genre, content, video format, license type, production company, director, and so on. This free service is intended to allow theater operators and fulldome enthusiasts to get a comprehensive picture of what’s available on the market and quickly spot what they are looking for. The service is completely free both to the users as well as to the producers. Visit

Fulldome and Academy Awards The fulldome film All We Are, produced by the Norrköping Visualization Center, was submitted this year for the Academy Awards. Ed Lantz screened the film at the Vortex Immersion facility in Los Angeles to meet the exhibition requirements. IMERSA hopes to see the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences be receptive to accepting fulldome as a legitimate cinematic medium. To support our case and demonstrate the high resolution of the medium, Lantz provided the dome master file to the Academy. Stay tuned!

The future of story IMERSA’s Ed Lantz participated in two events in August at the Vortex Dome in downtown Los Angeles, California promoting the fulldome medium to the filmmaking community. “The Future of Story” featured more than 30 screenwriters, including Pen

Densham (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and television revivals of The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone) and writing consultants Pilar Alessandra and Christopher Vogler. Ed participated in a panel focused on nextgeneration storytelling and showcased popular fulldome trailers. For many writers, this was their first introduction to the fulldome medium and immersive storytelling.

At the conferences The Themed Entertainment Association held its annual SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) conference in October in Orlando, Florida. On the program this year was the panel “Digital Dome Stories,” produced by Judith Rubin and moderated by IMERSA’s Dan Neafus. Panelists included Ryan Wyatt (IMERSA cofounder and director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco), Markus Beyr (4D theater entrepreneur), Cecil Magpuri (Falcon’s Treehouse) and Mark Rhodes (Universal Creative). This was an opportunity to build bridges between the entertainment and museum communities concerning dome exhibition. We credit the SATE conference committee headed by Kile Ozier and TEA for supporting this forum. It was an extra special treat for some of us to get a backstage tour from Mark Rhodes of several attractions at Universal Studios including “The Simpsons Ride,” “Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey” and “Spider-Man” and experience first-hand the powerful results of integrating motion simulation and ride vehicles into dome projection environments. Meanwhile, in Texas, Ed Lantz was attending the annual conference of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) in Austin in September and GSCA Dome Day at the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History in September. Ed is a member of the GSCA technical committee.

Much attention was paid this year to a sideby-side comparison of 1570 IMAX film projection (3DGT System with 15k lamp) with 4K digital projection (Barco 4k/DLP projector with 7.5k lamp), on Austin’s 26-m flat screen. A variety of content originating in 15 perforation/65mm film and digital animation was presented in a split-screen configuration. Ed’s evaluation: “It looks to be a gamechanger, not just for giant-screen flat screen, but ultimately for domes. The digital projection brightness was at 14 foot lamberts to match the DCI standard, but could have gone as high as 19 fL. The IMAX was 22 foot lamberts. The color temp of the digital projection was much higher, providing a whiter white than the film projection. The digital projection was also more stable and without scratches, dust or other artifacts. Some shots looked better in digital, especially those that had originated in digital.” The clips provided for the test reel were created in cooperation with Technicolor and Fotokem. The Association of Science-Technology Centers held its 2011 conference in October at the Maryland Science Center, Baltimore. IMERSA’s Dan Neafus was there holding dialog with people in the science center and giant-screen communities, including Tammy Seldon, executive director of GSCA and James Hyder, editor of LF Examiner newsletter. The ASTC program included a panel about astronomy Stereo 3D Productions; panelists included Dan Neafus along with Jim O’Leary, senior director of the Maryland Science Center; Frank Summers of the Space Telescope Science Institute; Mark Subbarao of the Adler Planetarium; and Stuart Levy of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. During Q&A the issue was raised about the degree to which artistic license may be applied in scientific data visualizations and simulations, and how this reconciles with science institutions’ commitment to authenticity. I


Alex Cherman Are you sad?

Why are you so quiet?

So what is going on?


Upset? Did something happen?

No… Sick?



Let’s just say that I have a naturally negative personality…

42 Planetarian

December 2011


Discover the Legend Written in the Stars...

Narrated by

Terry O’Quinn

A New Fulldome Show From Evans & Sutherland Digital Theater Productions and the eugenides foundation planetarium

December 2011 Planetarian

Digital Theater


Narrated by

Patrick Stewart

44 Planetarian


A New Fulldome Show From Evans & Sutherland

Digital Theater

December 2011

International News

Lars Broman Teknoland and Strömstad Academy Stångtjärnsv 132 SE 791 74 Falun, Sweden +46 2310 177,, During the NPA’11 post-conference tour to Ventspils, Latvia, we visited a very nice public observatory, shaped as a complete sphere. After we had enjoyed Jupiter with 5 Galilean moons (well, there was a star perfectly playing moon among the four real ones), I asked the astronomer to show us Albireo, the star that is the beak of Cygnus the Swan. Everyone who climbed the ladder and looked through the eyepiece was quite astonished to see a beautiful double star, consisting of one distinctive blue and one distinctive yellow star. I proudly presented Albireo as the Swedish star. Then, someone in the dark said “well, I think it is a Ukrainian star.” But this was OK, as long as everybody was happy. The International News column is dependent on contributions from IPS Affiliate Associations all over the world. Many thanks Vadim Belov, Bart Benjamin, Ignacio Castro, Gail Chaid, Alex Delivorias, Martin George, Sandro Gomes, John Hare, Kaoro Kimura, Thomas Kraupe, Loris Ramponi, and Rachel Thompson for your contributions. Upcoming deadlines are 1 January 2012 for Planetarian 1/2012 and 1 April for 2/2012. Anyone who wants to contribute news from parts of the world where IPS has no Association (see page 3) is welcome to send it to Martin George,

Association of Brazilian Planetariums The Association of Brazilian Planetariums (ABP) held its XVI Meeting 15-20 November 2011. This year, the meeting was conducted at the Fortaleza Planetarium in Sobral and Fortaleza. The event had the support of the Ceará State Government and was sponsored by Antares Fulldome, Astrotec, BARCO S.A., Evans & Sutherland, HiperLab, RSA Cosmos, Seal Telecom, Sky-Skan and Zeiss. The opening lecture was given by Dave Weinrich of Minnesota State University, president of the International Planetarium Society. One week before the annual ABP meeting, the Rio Planetarium hosted the first Brazilian Fulldome Workshop. The workshop ran 8-11 November and had several guests, including Shawn Laatsch, IPS treasurer and one of the producers of the Two Small Pieces of Glass planetarium show that was release for IYA09, and Antonio Pedrosa, from Portugal’s Navegar

Foundation. The workshop was sponsored by the Rio de Janeiro Planetarium Foundation, BARCO S.A., Fundação Roberto Marinho, and the Rio de Janeiro Catholic University.

Association of Italian Planetaria

speakers, planetarians, planetarium makers and planetarium show producers are invited to submit a paper/abstract using Skype. Among the participants of the national conference will be the winner of A Week in Italy, the yearly week devoted to astronomy lessons for Italian students presented by an American teacher. The lessons will be held in the Planetariums of Perugia, Farra d’Isonzo (Gorizia) and Lumezzane (Brescia). A similar initiative is being planned, through virtual lessons in French using Skype, with the collaboration of Association of French-Speaking Planetariums. Last summer, in fact, a collaboration between the Planetarium-Observatory of Laval (Pays de la Loire, France) and the Serafino Zani Astronomical Observatory and Planetarium in Lumezzane began. Croatia is not within the AIP region, but it is

During July and August the Ignazio Danti Planetarium in Peruga was closed for maintenance work, but their astronomy fans asked the planetarians to continue talking about the firmament. So how could their requests be satisfied? What came to mind? The most convincing, obvious and fascinating aspect of the planetarium is the sky, of course, but how could it be shared? With Stellarium projections on a maxi-screen, or possibly a one-stand series of planetarium shows? But then, it hit: why not the most economical solution on the market, suitable for everyone’s pocket and for everyone’s eyes: the sky live! So the planetarium staff went on the road. On 15 July and 28 August they were the guests of the Cerchio delle Fate holiday farm garden in Brufa, a village near Perugia. And on 11August Il Grappolo d’Oro invited the planetarians to participate in their heady Calici sotto le stelle (Chalices by Starlight) evening. These events proved to be very popular and spread the word about the work that the planetarium does, both for schools and for the general public. The next Day of Planetaria will be AIP, Top: In July, the Ignazio Danti Planetarium staff showed on 18 March 2012. The Day of Planthe sky to guests of the Cerchio delle Fate holiday farm in etaria has been involving Italian Brufa, a village near Perugia. Courtesy of Perugia Planetarplanetaria since 1991. It is an imporium. Below: Musical performance by Putokazi in the Planetant opportunity for an internationtarium of Rijeka, Croatia. Courtesy of Astronomical Centre Rijeka. al collaboration that aims to promote the knowledge of planetaria to a neighbor country, so we are happy to share the public more and more. For information, some Croatian news. see In order to increase the popularity of not The next national conference of the Italian Association of Planetaria (Planit) will be only the Centre itself, but of astronomy on the whole, the Astronomical Centre Rijeheld on 14-15 April 2012, together with Full Dome Festival II, at the Brembate Planetari- ka introduced some novelties in its regular program in 2011. A Croatian synchronized um, named Torre del Sole, near the city of Bergamo. During the Italian meetings, foreign film was shown, and by the end of this year

December 2011 Planetarian


the program Kauloka´ hina, The planetarium was which will have been synplanned under an innovative chronized by then, shall be concept of the Mayan Cosshown. mos vision and exhibits asIn addition, the planetarpects of the Mayan culture, ium program novelties inespecially on Mesoamerican cluded live presentations calendars and on the 2012 dedicated to solar and lunar controversial dates, as well as eclipses and tailored for all on traditional astronomy. age groups. As for kindergarAlso continuing refurbishtens and schools, a new live ing activities is the Mexico’s presentation called The Solar Astronomical Society PlanSystem Safari was included in etarium, which will include the program. the installation of a digital The Astronomical Centre fish-eye projector system and Rijeka has organized popular seating for 50. manifestations intended for a broader audience, including Council of German the Night of the Museums, Planetariums the Science Festival and the In 2011, the informal workInternational Planetarium ing group of German-speakDay. For the first time ever, ing planetariums (ADP) gaththe Centre celebrated Dark ered at Urania Observatory Sky Week and World Space in Vienna, Austria 7-9 May. Week by introducing special More than 120 participants week-long programs. These from Germany, Austria, Switincluded live presentations, zerland, Belgium, The Nethsuch as From Earth to Universe; erlands, Czech Republic, and the concert of the vocal band several international colPutokazi (The Signposts); the leagues from other contiYuri Gagarin photo exhibinents attended. tion; lectures given by the The participants, includastronaut Franz Viehböck; ing representatives from maand the presentation of the jor companies, shared their Space-Modeling Society Riviews and opinions regardjeka named Some Brand-New ing fulldome. This theme Voyagers. had been chosen because of The award-winning TV rethe increasing technological porter Ashley Colburn did pressure moving towards diga story on the Rijeca Cenital technologies, despite low tre, while the tourist season budgets at many institutions. featured special programs in There were many valuable AMPAC, Top: Chetumal Planetarium under construction, as is the observatory (below). foreign languages. In recogcontributions by educators, Both are now open. Photos by Eduardo Hernández. nition of its integrated marshow producers and vendors keting strategy, the Centre on this matter. was awarded for introducing innovations One major issue was the question of how to Book Month are planned as well. The planeinto the Croatian tourist sector. tarium will host not only a movie festival and keep the heritage of curriculum-based planeDue to the uniqueness of its architecture, live presentations, but also the out loud read- tarium programs within the framework of the the Astronomical Centre Rijeka served as the ings of children’s picture books dealing with new fulldome technology. appropriate setting for the shooting of a TV space-related topics, intended for both chilThe next conference of German-speaking spot done by the internationally-recognised dren and adults. In December, a specially tai- planetarians will be held in Wolfsburg, Gerband The Father, as well as the setting for the lored program dedicated to the Star of Bethlemany 5-7 May 2012. Possible future sites are cover page of the DnA band CD. Klagenfurt, Austria in 2013 and Lucerne, Swithem is planned. In addition, the Facebook pages of the Aszerland in 2014. tronomical Centre Rijeka were supplementAn integral part of ADP Conferences is the Association of Mexican ed by a fun page, so as to convey the informeeting of the Council of German PlanetarPlanetariums mation on the programme to as broad an As previously mentioned in this column iums (CGP/RDP). Ever since its formation audience as possible. The Centre has been pro- in the September 2011 issue, the Chetumal in 1988, this CGP had been challenged by its moted on the national scale as well by virtue Planetarium construction is completed and strict formal criteria that had to be fulfilled by of media reports and stories published in vari- the planetarium was inaugurated in Novemits members: to offer public presentations on ous monthly publications (Elle, Cosmopolitan, ber 2011. Under its 12-m dome it houses an Ev- a regular schedule with a minimum annual Plan B, etc.). ans & Sutherland Digistar 4 and seating for 97; attendance of 10,000 visitors and at least one By the end of the year, activities scheduled next to it is an observatory with a robotic 40- employed staff member. for the Children’s Week and the Croatian cm (16-in) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. The majority of planetarians joining con-

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ferences within the last decade had the impression that these criteria were too tight, out of date, and not appropriate for international cooperation. In 2010, the chairman of the CGP had appointed a working group headed by Peter Habison of Vienna Observatory to prepare the formal founding of a new planetarium organization that should replace the old structure. All formal preparations had been done in advance of the Vienna meeting by the working group with Peter Habison (Vienna), Susanne Hüttemeister (Bochum), Thomas Kraupe (Hamburg), Gerd Thiele (Cottbus) and Eduard Thomas (Kiel), so that a founding of the new Society of German-speaking Planetaria SGP (Gesellschaft Deutschsprachiger Planetarien GDP) could be facilitated in a formal assembly. Five officers of the new society were elected: president: Gerd Thiele (Cottbus); vice presidents: Dr. Christian Theis (Mannheim) and Dr. Björn Voss (Münster); treasurer: Dr. Uwe Lemmer (Stuttgart); and board member: Prof. Karin Flegel (Potsdam). The foundation of SGP is a substantial step ahead, because the new society now is a fully-registered, non-profit organization, while the former two organizations (ADP and CGP) were not registered. Thus, SGP is a full legal entity, which strengthens its position as a partner for new projects or for sponsors. This new organization will replace RDP and ADP and is intended to become the new affiliate representative for Austria, Germany and Switzerland in IPS. Discussion and formal voting on this issue within RDP is expected at the upcoming meeting of RDP in Stuttgart in November 2011. By mid-September, SGP had a total of 62 individual members, 16 institutional members (planetariums in Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland) and one sponsoring member. Its main purpose is to foster collaboration between planetariums and to increase their visibility in the German-speaking regions. This will be reached by a variety of activities, like regular conferences or establishing working groups for different aspects of planetarium affairs. The society is open to everybody interested in planetariums and aims to embrace and include planetariums of all sizes, hence it now includes small and mobile planetariums that offer shows in German language. More information can be found at the preliminary web page www.gdp-planetarium. org. After a sort of “fulldome burst” with new installations in Wolfsburg, Bochum, Berlin and Osnabrueck in 2010-11, another wave of digitalized domes is expected soon. Heidelberg opened its House of Astronomy in October 2011 with a fulldome system, and Stuttgart will also complement its Zeiss projector by a powerful fulldome system in early 2012. And

rumors say that there is more to come next year. A traveling exhibition about Mars sponsored by ECE (a major operator of shopping malls in Germany), in cooperation with ESA and other research facilities, may offer chances of outreach activities for planetariums nearby. A network of universities involved in immersive media is growing in northern Germany, with the Universities of Applied Sciences in Kiel and Flensburg being the core members. There will be a new fulldome planetarium show celebrating the 50th anniversary of European Southern Observatory in 2012. Along with Prof. Agnes Acker of the French Planetarium Association APLF, Thomas Kraupe of Hamburg Planetarium will coordinate this production. More information on content as well as terms and conditions are expected to be available before the end of 2011.

The German UNESCO committee awarded the production Lars, The Little Polar Bear from Mediendom Kiel by naming it as a project of the UN decade “Education for Sustainable Development.” This show for children is a cooperative project of the Marine Science Excellence Cluster The Future Ocean and the Mediendom of the University for Applied Sciences in Kiel and is already being shown in 11 planetariums in Germany and Austria. Also, the Presidential Committee of the University of Applied Sciences Kiel created the Student Nightlife Award for excellence and creativity in producing for fulldome, which was awarded this year for the first time. The jury received 37 entries and the following were awarded: How to Disappear by Merlin Flügel (Platinum), Wir waren mal Feinde (We once were Enemies) by Walter Oppel, and 3910 by Moritz Degen and Daniel Weik (Gold), and finally Schwimmende Einhörner (Floating Uni-

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corns) by Stephanie Kayss and Above by Florian Meyer (Silver). This year’s ADP Conference host and director of Vienna Observatories and Planetarium, Peter Habison, is on leave this summer. Dr. Michael Feuchtinger will at least temporarily be representing Vienna Planetarium form now on. Holger Haug, Head of Augsburg Planetarium (Germany) will retire at this year’s end and Gerhard Cerny will be his follower.

European/Mediterranean Planetarium Association The end of summer months found the Eugenides Planetarium in Athens, Greece, once again upgrading its software, doing necessary maintenance work and cleaning its dome, in preparation for the new season. And, as school visits started once again in the first days of fall, a special 10-minute astronomy introduction for the younger audiences, produced by Eugenides Planetarium as an introduction to the Little Prince children’s show (produced by n-Wave), made its premiere on 3 October. On 11 October, Dr. Thierry Courvoisier, president of the European Astronomical Society, gave a popular lecture on “The Universe in ever-faster expansion,” an apt choice given the recent 2011 Nobel award in Physics, to the scientists who discovered the accelerated expansion of the universe. On 1 November, the Eugenides Planetarium premiered its latest planetarium show Evolution, which attempts to capture this all-encompassing concept by inviting its audience on a fascinating journey. From ancient Miletus, where pre-Socratic philosopher Thales laid the foundations for the scientific investigation of the physical world, to the birth and the large scale expansion of the universe, from stellar evolution to the geologic history of our planet and the emergence and evolution of life, from the rise and demise of some of the great civilizations of the past to our modern civilization and beyond, Evolution narrates the fascinating story of change. It is worth mentioning here that the show was co-produced by EyeLead Software, a Greek company which created all the animations with the help of their own 3D animation software called HIVE.

Great Lakes Planetarium Association Illinois. This summer was the Lakeview Museum Planetarium’s last in its current building. Next July, the museum and planetarium will begin their move to the Peoria Riverfront Museum, four miles away in downtown Peoria. Progress can be viewed with the “Build the Block” webcam at The planetarium is the first structure on the block, a 54-foot tall concrete ellipsoid. The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at


Parkland College in Champaign Zielinski, who was a 2002 graduate of welcomed GLPA members to Bowling Green State University, was their 47th annual conference hired as director of the new digital 19-22 October. In December, the planetarium at the Jenks Schools near planetarium staff welcomed asTulsa, Oklahoma. The 17-m (50-ft), 120tronomer Jim Kaler to their seat Jenks Planetarium is part of the dome for a World of Science talk school district’s new Math & Science titled “The Real Zodiac, 2012, and Center and is equipped with a Spitz All That.” SciDome HD fulldome system. The Cernan Earth and Space In July, 2011 BGSU graduate A. J. HelfCenter of Triton College in Riven began a one-year internship at the er Grove continued its ongoBuehler Planetarium in Fort Laudering project of converting its exdale, Florida. isting slide-based shows into the Alex Mak (University of Tolenew three-screen video system do’s Ritter Planetarium) and Dr. Lauthat was installed in the summer ra Megeath (Lourdes College’s Appold JPA: The 2011 JPA conference was held at Laforet Biwako Planetaium in of 2010. Three planetarium proPlanetarium) attended the Spitz InstiShiga. Photo by Akira Marukawa. grams were completed by sumtute this past summer. mer’s end, and two more were Wisconsin/Minnesota. Cleopaconverted during the autumn months. step toward cross fading between the Uniview tra’s Universe, a new, original production from Indiana. The P-H-M Planetarium reopened software and a fulldome movie player. The the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium in Milwauduring the first week of October with a new planetarium continues to work on produckee, opened in October to complement the dome, 100 new seats, a Digistar 4 two-projec- tion of a Great Lakes watershed program (i.e. Cleopatra exhibit at the museum. Astronomtor system, 5.1 sound system, LED cove light- a series of live dome transmissions and science ical scenes include Eratosthenes and the ciring system, and 23 fulldome digital shows. cafés) that is scheduled to begin in the late fall cumference of the Earth, the Egyptian zodiAt the Koch Planetarium in Evansville, of 2012. ac ceiling at Dendera, the Pharo’s Lighthouse, their science educator of six years, Gena GarCurrently in the development pipeline at the Library of Alexandria, and the Parthenon rett, resigned to take a position with a local the Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium in Greece. Nature Society. Gena ran the planetarium’s is Crossing the Sun, a new program about the Bob Allen has returned as planetarium dipopular Girl Scout Space Night programs and June, 2012 transit of Venus, as well as a keyrector at the University of Wisconsin-La presented a large share of the shows in the pad-driven interactive solar system show. Crosse Planetarium. The planetarium is replanetarium. The planetarium recently preAt the Dassault Systémes Planetarium in suming public programs, including their Alsented laser shows with the help of Audio Vi- Detroit, Dinosaur Planet has been packed bum Encounter multimedia light and laser sual Imagineering. They also presented Sude- with tourists and summer groups, many of shows. These were eliminated due to funding kum Planetarium’s Mars Update program with whom also visited the museum’s Dinosaurs cuts a couple of years ago. Their November an in-house segment on current and future Unearthed exhibit. Production continues on public program featured their own producmissions to Mars. Sunstruck-Fury of the Daystar, which will be a tion titled Ancient Observatories. The Edwin Clark Schouweiler Memorial new show about the sun. As part of the NASA In October, MSU Moorhead entered the digPlanetarium at the University of Saint Francis grant, a heliostat will be installed by the planital planetarium field with an Elumenati Gein Fort Wayne reports that their annual Fort etarium to permit solar observations in sever- oDome Evolver. This digital projector suppleWayne Three Rivers Fest was very successful. al frequencies of light. ments their existing Spitz 512, which is still Their new show, The Explorers of Polynesia is The Dessault planetarium welcomed a new going strong after 39 years. The new Elumenatheir own version of the original Bishop Plan- video editor, Jay Swanson, to their production ti projector has opened up a whole new unietarium The Explorers. 2012 will be the planeteam, who worked beside Ian Glodich, their verse of programming possibilities for the unitarium’s 40th anniversary year. summer production intern. versity, local schools, and public audiences. Michigan. The University of Michigan ExThe summer came to an end by participatThe UWM Planetarium presented Year of hibit Museum Planetarium in Ann Arbor reing in the largest astronomy public event in the Solar System this fall. Audiences learned cently replaced its computer, which is the first Michigan, the 15th annual Astronomy at the about NASA’s current and upcoming endeavBeach. This event was ors during this time of heightened exploraorganized by the sevtion. Later in the fall, 2012: Fact or Fiction will Bad news from Detroit, Michigan en astronomy clubs try to dispel anxiety about the supposed end The news deadline for the December issue of Planetarian prein southeastern Mich- of the world in 2012. ceded the news in September that the Detroit Science Center had igan, and supported closed. by the planetariums Japan Planetarium Association Initially there were hopes that it would open soon, but the last at Cranbrook, Detroit The Japan Planetarium Association (JPA) word was that it “will remain shuttered for the time being.” Science Center, Eastheld its 2011 Conference 1-3 June at the LaAccording to a November 7 report from CBC News (www.cbc. ern Michigan Univerforet Biwako Planetarium in Shiga Prefecture. ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2011/11/07/wdr-detroit-sciencesity, and Wayne State About 150 planetarium people attended. center.html), “Officials have said layoffs at the museum were likeUniversity. Between 5 The conference had the general meeting, ly, though the exact number of its 114 employees who would lose and 10 thousand peooral sessions, poster sessions, vender demontheir jobs was still to be determined. “ ple attended the twostrations, and banquets. The center “is struggling with more than $1.6 million in losses since day event. Workshop activities were also reported. JPA 2009 and $5.8 million in combined real estate and bank debt upon Ohio. After a nahas some workshops, such as regional ones, which it has defaulted,” the report continues. I tionwide search, Dan (Continues on Page 50)

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(International, continued from Page 48) which take place in five areas in Japan several times per year. They also have other workshops, such as digital planetarium ones. Each workshop has its meeting and sessions for obtaining information and improving planetarium people’s skill. Oral sessions covered a wide range, for instance, a school show collaboration with elementary schools, the report of a concert in a planetarium, better publicity activities of facilities, making planetarium content using free software, the report of making an air-dome and using it, and how to take measures against earthquakes. As you know, Japan had the devastating earthquake in March, 2011. It was reported how some planetariums corresponded after the earthquake and talked about what we need in the event of natural disaster. For example, it could be impossible to use electricity. However, information is needed. In that case, a radio working by batteries is really useful. It enables many people to obtain information at the same time. It’s really important to ensure the safety of visitors. Japanese planetariums have to drill against disaster in order to know evacuation routes and not to get into a panic. Even now, Japan has earthquakes which are smaller than the one in March 2011. It will be necessary to deal with earthquakes from now on. The 2012 JPA Conference will be held in June at Ishikawa Children’s Activity Center.

Nordic Planetarium Association The biennial NPA Conference took place at Tehnoannas Pagrabi, Children’s Science Center in Riga, Latvia on 2-4 September, hosted by Dace Balode and her colleagues at the Center, with 22 delegates from eight countries participating. Several contributed papers were presented, and also a keynote lecture by Dr. Ilgonis Vilks, University of Latvia, on “Astronomy for the General Public.” During the membership meeting, a new board was elected, consisting of President Aase Roland Jacobsen, Denmark; Secretary/Treasurer Lars Petersen, Denmark; Directors Margus Aru, Estonia, Kai Santavuori, Finland, Snævar Guðmundsson, Iceland, Dace Balode, Latvia, Anne Bruvold, Norway, and Lars Broman, Sweden; Deputies Helle Jaaniste, Estonia, Timo Rahunen, Finland, Janis Harja, Latvia, Ivar Nakken, Norway, and Anna S. Arnadottir, Sweden and Iceland. Jacobsen thus took over the presidency from Broman, who had held it for 21 years. Margus Aru, planetarium director at AHHAA Science Center in Tartu, Estonia, invited NPA to hold its next conference in Tartu in September 2013. Delegates look forward to going there and experienceing the unique planetarium, which has a glass floor and a secondary projector producing a continued starry sky on the bottom half of the planetarium globe. Some delegates went on a post-conference tour to Ventspils, hosted by Ventspils Creativity Center Assistant Director Jānis Harje. The tour included a visit to the planetarium, the public observatory, and the radio observatory in Irbene. There it was quite exciting to walk on the 36-m (120-ft) disk and also to climb up to the focus of the disc, 47 m (157 ft) above ground.

Pacific Planetarium Association The News from Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, California is they will be joining the fulldome community at the end of 2011. This is the second phase of the upgrade project for the world’s first tilted dome, which is to begin operating a 4-channel Global Immersion system with Sony SRX 420 projectors in December.

NPA, Top: The AHHAA Planetarium in Tartu, Estonia. Photo by Margus Aru. Center: NPA’11 delegates around the remains of the old Riga Zeiss projector. New NPA President Aase Roland Jacobsen stand just right of the planetary cage. Courtesy of Lars Broman. Bottom: The public observatory at the Creativity Center in Ventspils. In front of the globe is Elza Klavina, planetarium explainer at Technoannas Pagrabi. Photo by Lars Broman.

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Contact: Mike Bruno

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RPA, Top: The IPS Council meeting in Nizhny Novgorod. Photo by N. Lapin. Below: Delegates at RPA’11 outside the Nizhny Novgorod Planetarium. Photo by M. Prokopenko.

(International, continued from Page 50) Phase one consisted of installing a Spitz Nano Seam dome, new seats, carpet, lighting and a 16,000-watt digital sound system. Phase three will include more visual enhancements. Questions about this exciting upgrade may be direction to Moving up to Bakersfield, California, Nick Strobel reports that he has increased tickets sales at the William M. Thomas Planetarium. He writes a column in the local newspaper and has advertised the new fall programs through his column. Shows are sold out as a result. Falls shows include Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Another perennial favorite show is Dawn of the Space Age. More information is available from Andy Newton and Andy Kreyche have

been busy at the J. Frederic Ching Planetarium at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. Hartnell continues to serve the California Central Coast region as the only planetarium in Monterey County. In 2004 a new Konica Minolta Mediaglobe system was installed. Since then, Andy Kreyche, planetarium educator, has been able to show traditional night sky programs as well as treat visitors to dynamic storytelling using the fulldome projection system. Newton, long-time planetarium director, has been organizing large scale outreach events. There were two community events attended by thousands of people this year. One was the 5th Annual Family Science and Health Day. This event is sponsored by Hartnell and a local school district. The events include a wide variety of areas: sciences, nutrition, health, the environment and fine arts.

With a variety of topics, more people were interested in attending and more engaged in the events. The second event was a whole day with the focus on the Maya culture. Tales of the Maya Skies was shown. Talks, dance and free showings of the program went on all day. Newton has also made a point of creating partnerships with both community groups and outside organizations to help attract more Hispanic students. Hartnell is a federally-designated Hispanic service institution, and also is a NASA/SEMAA (Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy) project designed to increase participation of youth in grades K-12 in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Hartnell also participates in the Bay Area Science Festival, which is scheduled annually for the first Saturday in November. If you have questions, contact anewton@hartnell. edu or Andrew Fraknoi, chair of the Foothill College Astronomy Program, reports opportunities for planetarium directors and students of astronomy. There are 30 lectures available as audio and video podcasts, free, through the web and iTunes at Speakers included Frank Drake, Mike Brown, Natalie Batalha, and Alex Filippenko and are all talks that were part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures sponsored by NASA, ASP, SETI and Foothill College. Contact The Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium was held in PPA territory at the Digitalis headquarters in Bremerton, Washington near Seattle (see story, page x). Participants attended from Japan, Thailand, The Netherlands and USA. Topics included defining interactivity, ways to encourage participation, techniques for facilitating audience interaction, presenting concepts as well as how to stay open in a bad economy. The symposium was a great success and hopefully it will become a regular event.

Russian Planetarium Association On 1 July guests from all continents gathered in Nizhny Novgorod. At the opening ceremony they were welcomed by the first vicegovernor of the Nizhny Novgorod region V. Ivanov, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Nizhny Novgorod Planetarium Prof. I. Zinchenko and the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences V. Kocharovsky (both from the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences). There were greetings from the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society signed by its co-chairperson Prof. N. Samus and RPA president director of the Sternberg Astronomical Institute of the Moscow University, and member of the

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(International, continued from Page 52) Russian Academy of Sciences A. Cherepashchuk. The IPS Council Meeting took place in the hall of Nizhny Novgorod Municipal Administration in Kremlin, while colleagues from NIS countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan) had their sessions in the planetarium. The plenary sessions were devoted to the educational programs in the year of the Russian cosmonautics. Directors of the planetariums shared their experience of collaboration with industry (Lytkarino, Moscow region), the role of a school planetarium in education of school children in natural science (Kirov), the planetarium’s role in the system of additional education by organizing compact creative groups of school children (Kostroma), artwork in planetarium programs (Nizhny Novgorod), and more. Additional forms of education in planetariums were discussed, including olympiads, creative competitions, astronomical groups, scientific societies, etc. On the third day, joint sessions were arranged in the planetarium. IPS president Da-

Southeastern Michael D. Sandras Planetarium Association 1963-2011 It It is is with with sadness sadness that that we theannounce Southeastern the passing Planetarium of Michael Association D. Sandras. announces Sandras died the on passing September of Michael 10, D. 2011 Sandras. of complications Sandras died from on September his nearly 10, life-long 2011 of fight complications with diabetes. from Hehis is survived nearly life-long by his fight wife Connie with diabeand young tes. He daughter is survived Arianna by hisCeleste. wife Connie He wasand 47 years young old. daughter Arianna Celeste. He was 47 years Sandras old. is the former curator of the Freeport Sandras McMoRan is the former Sciencecurator Center,ofPlanetarithe Freeum, portObservatory, McMoRan Science Space Station Center,inPlanetariKenner, Louisiana, um, Observatory, and laterSpace the Louis Station Roussell in Kenner, Planetarium. Louisiana, Heand alsolater worked the Louis as theRoussell observatory Planoperator etarium. for He the alsoUniversity worked asof the New observatoOrleans and, ry operator until the fortime the of University his death, ofthe New manOrager leansofand, the until Gretna theObservatory. time of his He death, wasthe an active manager member of the in Gretna several Observatory. astronomical He and was planetarium an active member organizations, in several including astronomical SEPA and and IPS. planetarium He served as organizations, president of the including Southeastern SEPA and Planetarium IPS. He served Association as president in of 2002 the and Southeastern 2003. Planetarium Association in

vid Weinrich gave the welcome, and the IPS Council participated in the RPA meeting. The following talks were presented: Prof. Lars Broman, “Update of the Public Understanding of Astronomy (PUA) Research Project”; Prof. Agnès Acker, “A Show for 2012, Water, a cosmic story”; Ian McLennan, “MASAV (Microscopic & Sub-Atomic Visualization Project)”; and Susan Button, “IPS Portable Planetarium Committee.” Shawn Laatsch presented the show Awesome Light: Big Mirrors on the Mountain. The Nizhny Novgorod planetarium presented new visual programs for small children, while the Perm planetarium made a video presentation of its activity. L. Panina shared her impressions of the Fulldome Festival-2011 in Jena in May and of Berlin Planetarium. There were talks of representatives of Russian companies supplying equipment for digital planetariums and a request for support from Ukrainian planetariums. Participants had an excursion around Nizhny Novgorod. While foreign participants enjoyed the view of the city from onboard a boat, the XIV RPA business meeting took

2002 Forand his many 2003. accomplishments, Sandras hasFor anhis asteroid manynamed accomplishments, in his honor: Sandras 18434 Mikesandras has an asteroid (1994 named EW7), inahis main-belt honor: 18434 asteroid Mikesandras discovered (1994 on EW7), 12 March a main-belt 1994 byasterC. S. Shoemaker oid discovered and on D. H. 12Levy March at Palomar. 1994 by C. S. Shoemaker Sandras’ wake and D.and H. Levy funeral at Palomar. were held in September Sandras’ and wake were andvery funeral wellwere attended held by in more September than and 200were mourners. very well Theattended Southeastby ern more Planetarium than 200 mourners. AssociationThe wasSoutheastwell represented ern Planetarium by HeidiAssociation Ransom, Gary wasMeibaum, well repJason resented Talley, by Heidi Philip Ransom, Groce and Gary George Meibaum, FleeMichael Sandras nor. Jason Talley, 2011 Philip Groce and George Fleenor. Philip Groce wrote :”Michael made a lot of Philip us smile Groce and wrote laugh :”Michael at SEPA conferences. made a lot He of us was smile the Rodney and laugh Dangerfield at SEPA conferences. of planetarians, He was always the Rodney getting Dangerfield no respect. Yet, of planetarnothing could ians, always be further getting from nothe respect. truth.Yet, Mike’s nothing selfdeprecating could be further humor from always the truth. had us Mike’s in stitchselfes. deprecating He reminded humor usalways constantly, had usthat in stitcheven though es. He reminded we may control us constantly, the universe that from even our though consoles, we may we control are never the really universe in control from of our anything. consoles, we are never really in control of “Mike’s anything. humor was often baudy, but never “Mike’s mean. But humor I do was know often he baudy, often made but nevme laugh er mean. until ButI was I do in know tearshe and often he made made cerme tain laugh that until I never I was had in tears a chance and he tomade take mycerself taintoo thatseriously. I never had I think a chance he did tothat takesame myservice self too for seriously. everyone I think he met. he did Asthat his same wife Connie service asked for everyone me through he met. her tears As his when wifeI saw Connie her asked at the me funeral, through ‘Phil,her who’s tearsgoing whentoI make saw her meatlaugh the funeral, now?’ ‘Phil, who’s going to make “Michael me laugh Sandras now?’ was a respected, kind, and “Michael good representative Sandras was of a respected, our profession. kind, I He andwill good be representative sorely missed.” of our profession. I He will be sorely missed.”

SWAP: Donna Pierce, Highland Park, Texas performs a training simulation at the Fort Hood military base tour, one of the highlights of the Western Alliance Conference. Photo by Jack L. Northrup.

place in the planetarium. New collective members were accepted; now their total number exceeds 40. The RPA board presented a report of its activity in the last four years. A new board was elected, including Z. Sitkova (chairperson), V. Belov (secretary; both from Nizhny Novgorod), T. Baltina (Perm), A. Denisov (Ufa), T. Zhbannikova (Kirov), L. Panina (Moscow), and S. Sakharova (Kostroma). Changes in the RPA Charter were adopted. After that the RPA meeting functioned as a meeting of the Euro-Asian community of planetariums. This community was organized in 2003 and united professional planetarians of NIS on the basis of individual membership. A new council was adopted consisting of five co-chairpersons: U. Avdeenko (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), S. Maslikov (Novosibirsk, Russia), A. Mikulich (Minsk, Belarus), G. Zheleznyak (Kharkov, Ukraine), and K.Bulekov (Aktobe, Kazakhstan). The 60 visitors departed by a night train to Moscow and Zvezdnyj (Star City). They visited the Gagarin cosmonaut training center and, just opened after a long reconstruction, Moscow Planetarium. The participants remaining in Nizhny Novgorod on 4 July had boat trip along the Volga and Oka rivers.

Southwestern Association of Planetariums

This summer the Western Alliance Conference met at the Mayborn Planetarium &

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Space Theater in Killeen, Texas. Nearly 100 attendees and vendors braved the Texas July heat at Central Texas College to participate in paper session, dome demos, and the generous hospitality of the hosts and vendors. In addition to the local scene in Killeen, conference attendees were treated to a choice of trips to SpaceX, Fort Hood, or Salado. SWAP thanks all vendors, attendees, and especially the hosts at Mayborn Planetarium.

International Relations Committee

Martin George In October, I had the great pleasure of visiting Beijing once again, this time to attend CAP 2011, the 2011 Communicating Astronomy to the Public Conference. It was organised through IAU Commission 55 and wonderfully hosted by the Beijing Planetarium. Our planetarium colleagues there, together with many others, did a wonderful job. Although it was a small conference, there were many excellent presentations. I am including a mention of this in the Planetarian this issue because it was great to be able to be there to “fly the flag” for IPS and to meet astronomy communicators from many different countries around the world. I was also able to promote the 2012 IPS in Baton Rouge. Apart from the papers presented, amongst topics for discussion were the 2012 transit of Venus and the International Year of Light—so strongly connected with astronomy—which will take place in 2015. It was lovely to hear more accolades for the Ghana planetarium project, in which President and Committee member Dave Weinrich was closely involved. Word of the success of the project has clearly spread far and wide. Another of the issues in relation to the international nature of such meetings is the difficulty that some people face in affording to come to the conferences. There is absolutely no doubt that face-toface contact with fellow professionals in the field is extremely valuable, and of course this applies strongly to the IPS too. It was disappointing, therefore, to find that there were some people missing whom I had hoped to see there. Through attending this conference, however, I was pleased to make contact with Rogel Mari Sese from the University of The Philippines, who spoke about astronomy, astronomy communication, and planetariums there. This is a country currently having no IPS membership, and like several countries in the region, it is not part of an affiliate group. I intend to make a visit there sometime in the near future to establish some ties and en-

courage planetarians there to be involved in the IPS and to possibly attend the Baton Rouge Conference.

Meeting Arabicspeaking friends Recently, I asked Marc Rouleau about progress in forming an Arabic-speaking planetarium group. Those of you who were at IPS 2010 in Egypt will recall that many of our planetarium colleagues from these countries were present at the conference, and Dale Smith, IRC: Dr Jin Zhu, Director of the Beijing Planetarium, speaking at CAP former IPS president and a 2011. Photo by Martin George. member of our committee, and I attended a meeting wonderful to see this eventuate, and the comduring the conference to discuss the IPS with mittee will be keeping a close eye on developthem. It was a friendly and positive meeting. In recent months, the political situation in ments. By the time you receive this issue, the comthat part of the world has not been as conducive as we would have hoped in strengthen- mittee will have been working hard on establishing the new scholarship scheme, which ing the ties. However, Marc has been in contact with Omar Fikry in Egypt, and Omar is has been discussed at length at Council meetings, most recently in Nizhny Novgorod, Rushopeful of some progress. There is a possibility that a planetarium sia, in July. The scheme will be administered by the committee, and it is planned that it group could be formed as part of the North will be operating for the 2012 IPS conferAfrican and Middle East Science Centres orence in Baton Rouge. I ganization about piggybacking the planetarium group with them. It would certainly be

Tom Callen focuses new future on eyemmersive Long-time planetarian Tom Callen, most recently astronomer/program producer at the Swedish Museum of Natural History’s Cosmonova, has started his own company; eyemmersive (advertised in the September issue of Planetarian). “Since there are so few major planetariums in Sweden right now and wanting to stay in a profession where I have worked since 1972, it seemed to be the best solution and where I thought I could make useful contributions.” For Callen, not only do planetariums provide a quality educational experience for students that can’t be duplicated in another venue, but they are often the general public’s only contact with astronomy. Cosmonova was Tom’s fifth facility and he will take advantage of what he has learned along the way. “I enjoy taking an astronomical concept and finding a solution how to best describe it to the public as well as finding the most meaningful visuals. Not only does it have to be understandable to the beginner, in the ideal case it should be interesting to another person who may already know something about the subject. I

December 2011 Planetarian

like to see the new company’s role as where science, art and public outreach meet. Tom Callen “But I also believe that this encompasses more than the planetarium/fulldome arena. The company plans to offer such products and services internationally as well as have a shift in emphasis for the local non-planetarium market. For example, there is a need for skills in writing, editing and voiceover narration in native English here in the Nordic countries that would otherwise be performed inhouse in the states.” Having gone from a career working at public institutions to one’s own private company has brought with it a lot of changes. “One of the benefits of the new arrangement is that I’ll be able to work closer to home; in fact, on the same island where my family and I live out in the Stockholm Archipelago. You certainly can’t beat the view whether it is day or night.” I


Mobile News Susan Reynolds Button Quarks to Clusters 8793 Horseshoe Lane Chittenango, New York 13037 USA +1 315-687-5371,

Live interactive programming Two young, enthusiastic members of our community have kick started a renewed movement in favor of live interactive programming in planetariums. You can read their complete article elsewhere in this journal (see page 18) to learn more about the incredible response their efforts brought forth in August 2011 at the first of what promises to be many get-togethers. People from a variety of states and countries joined to share their dedication to sustaining all generations of planetarians who want to blend the best content, using any and all of the various technologies, with superior and imaginative presentation techniques. Congratulations Karrie Berglund and Rob Spearman!




Back to basics Speaking of live interactive presentations, let’s revisit some information contained in the IPS Handbook for Portable Planetariums. Listed there are a few tips that are tried and true. Here are some basic ideas to think about: •• Do some research about how people learn and design lessons that are age-appropriate. Then, continuously evaluate what you are doing. •• Tell students what model you are using: earth-based view or space-based view. This eliminates questions from students such as “where’s Earth?” They should understand if they are supposed to be sitting on Earth and looking at the sky as if they are in their own backyard. Ask students what they can or cannot see in the real sky with just their eyes. Sometimes I point and say, “This is your zenith (have them point and tell the name) and this is your nadir (have them point and tell the name). There is a planet at your nadir, raise your hand if you can tell me which planet is at your nadir. (Earth) When Earth is at your nadir then can you see it in the sky?” •• Gather a collection of items that are representative of particular constellations and stories. Models such as stuffed animals, dolls, dippers or drinking gourds are extremely useful in making a young child




learned if we do not provide the opportunity for them to tell us. (A Private Universe was created and produced by Matthew H. Schneps and Philip M. Sadler, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Partial funding for A Private Universe was provided by the National Science Foundation.) Another interesting related website is html.) Students frequently lack a basic understanding of the celestial sphere and apparent motion. If students have trouble with advanced activities, it may well be attributed to deeply rooted misconceptions about apparent motion and its cause. The first step is to have students make predictions and then test their predictions as the projector is set in motion. For recording predictions and observations arrows or other markers can be attached to the dome using

feel more secure, an older child less self conscious, and in helping young students to remember constellation names. Design lessons using cooperative learning techniques. Active participation by students increases learning and reduces discipline problems. It is helpful to provide some written materials for teachers to prepare students for their visit to the planetarium and to follow up and extend the concepts presented. These pre- or post-activities need to be “minds-on” or “hands-on,” not just busy-work like word searches or crossword puzzles! Keep lesson objectives simple and to a minimum. Students can only absorb and really understand/learn a very small number of concepts in one lesson. If students only visit the planThis is a collection of items I kept handy for presentations. etarium once, it is probably Photo by author. more educationally sound to use predominantly the night sky with few or no slides/videos or other sticky backed velcro (fuzzy part attached to special effects. the dome and the other part attached to the Encourage students’ questions so that you marker). can take advantage of “teachable moCenter the projector under the dome to ments.” This also enables each lesson to be create a more accurate model of the sky. To unique and helps the presenter to remain do this set the sun for the autumnal equienthusiastic, interesting and avoid “burnnox (approximately September 21). Make out!” sure the sun projection rises due east and Just as important is the process of havsets due west and if set for 0 degrees latiing students orally repeat to you what they tude (the equator) the sun should be at the have discovered after each experiment or zenith (center top of dome) at noon. Now lesson. We cannot assume that they have all the equinox and solstice sun positions come to the conclusions that we expect. should be fairly accurate. View the video A Private Universe, which On the STARLAB sky cylinder each “butdemonstrates naive theories students deton” hole represents approximately the 21st vise and how to challenge them (you can of each month. A digital projector should find one version at already be aligned properly but care should watch?v=7KUQbeKJTNY). still be taken to make sure it is centered. •• Tape your lessons. Do tape them despite the This is an excellent video to remind obvious pitfall that these recordings may us that students are not empty cups to be show that your lessons are not perfect. It is filled and we need to refrain from “assuming” what pre-existing knowledge (or unextremely helpful and informative to tape derstanding of the model they are using) is your presentations (even if no one hears present. We will never know what our stuthem but you). (Continues on Page 58) dents think they know or what they have

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December 2011 Planetarian


(Mobile, continued from Page 56) I found that the lessons that sometimes seemed plagued with what I thought was idle student chatter were very interesting. When I listened to them later it was clear that most of the students’ comments were on task and it was easy to hear that pupils were processing experiences and learning from them. I could hear statements such as, “Oh, I get it. When the sun is low in the sky it is cooler.” The classes that I thought were really focused (and quietly working on task) were frequently not as exciting. However, I also discovered that many times I responded appropriately to that quiet little voice of a child who asked herself something like, “What happened to my star?” or, “I wonder what would happen if we went to midnight!” I am flexible and the lesson “plan” does not drive my lessons—the learning and questioning does. It is gratifying to notice when you do the right thing by instinct! It is also helpful to learn about the part of your teaching style that needs to be finetuned, for example, what phrases are repeated too frequently. In short it helps you to grow and keep your lessons fresh. Invest in a decent microphone or video camera, one that can pick up questions and comments from around the dome clearly. Even though I like to avoid criticism (my internal voice is already strongly critical!), I tape my lessons because it is valuable to me and maybe to a novice planetarian. You can share your better tapes (none are perfect!) with someone who needs your help. •• When developing any curriculum, lessons and activities it is best if they correlate with and enhance national, state and/or school district standards, goals and objectives. •• It is not only all right, it is critical to keep your presentations entertaining and to have fun! Share your enthusiasm for the subject matter and show interest in the audience’s response. Again, their responses should help drive the lesson and make each session unique.

I found this part particularly intriguing: “… Stargazers can slide their finger up or down the Spectrum Bar to change the wavelength and move along the spectrum. Each wavelength is represented by a different color on the star map.” Learn more at vitotechnology. com/star-walk.html. If you have an Android device, then try Google Sky Map.

Padlett handle strap for iPad Need to manipulate your phone in ways it wasn’t designed for? This might help: “The Padlette is a simple silicone rubber handle that quickly installs on the iPad and makes it easy to hold with one hand. Padlette comes in seven different colors: black, green, pink, gray, yellow, orange, and glow-in-the-dark blue.” Learn more at If it is not available on the Padlette website, you can get a “glow-in-the-dark” version from Amazon (

American in Italy 2011: final report This year’s winner was Joseph E. Ciotti from Hawaii. Here is the report of his intense and exciting trip. He provides a wonderful description

Signing off with a few reminders: Check the IPS Portable Planetarium Committee web page for newly posted documents. Kindly send me any additions, corrections or suggestions for the committee page. Don’t forget to look for relevant papers and workshops at the IPS 2012 Conference in July 2012 and at the next…Live, Interactive Planetarium Symposium (LIPS), August 2012 (Consult IPS Calendar and Website for details) Consider collaborating with me in updating the IPS Portable Planetarium Handbook. It was distributed in 2002 and although much information remains valid a lot has changed in ten years! I

American planetarian in Italy also finds his roots Joseph E. Ciotti Hōkūlani Imaginarium Windward Community College 45-720 Kea‘ahala Road Kāne‘ohe, Hawai‘i 96744 My participation in the 2011 American Planetarium Operator in Italy program has been a unique opportunity to extend my outreach efforts internationally and form closer associations with colleagues in the field. In the circle of life, this experience was also personally meaningful to me, since both my parents were born in Italy. It was an exciting and intensive undertaking: 24 lectures and interviews in four cities spanning 14 days.

Gadgets for parties or just you Try out the new Star Walk app for iPhone and iPad. “Star Walk is an award-winning education app that allows users to easily locate and identify 20,000+ objects in the night sky. The 360-degree, touch control star map displays constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and galaxies currently overhead from anywhere on Earth. Highly praised and the winner of a 2010 Apple Design Award, the latest update adds a Spectrum Bar to view frequencies other than visible light. *No Internet connection required*”

of an amazing adventure that he and his wife experienced as a result of winning this trip to Italy! It sounds like Joe, his Italian colleagues and students made an incredible impression on each other and have formed memories and bonds that will last a lifetime! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Joe. The winner for 2012 is being decided as I write this column. If you are an American planetarian and you want to have the same kind of amazing experience, contact me for an application. The application deadline for the experience in 2013 is September 15, 2012. Hey, you never know!

Lesson plan

Joe Ciotti embracing statue of Marziano Ciotti, Gardisca d’Isonzo, Gorizia. photo by Nancy Heu

The planetarium lesson and hands-on workshop that I presented for this 2011 program were based on a Polynesian voyaging course I team-teach and a planetarium program I produced. The three main objectives were: 1. To introduce students to the motions of the sky, especially as they relate to navigation. 2. To compare non-instrument wayfinding techniques of the Polynesians with instru-

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ment-based navigation used by western sailors like Columbus. 3. To reveal the sky mythology of ancient Polynesia as a means of describing the physical universe. The planetarium was used to illustrate how the positions of stars change with latitude and how Polynesians used the zenith passage of bright stars to determine their location. Capella (Hōkū Lei) conveniently marked the zenith for the cities I visited in northern Italy. The seasonal movement of the sun was also demonstrated in the planetarium and used to find direction at sea. The Hawaiian story of why Maui snared the sun was told as a cultural explanation for these seasonal changes. Other myths, including Maui’s fishhook (Scorpius) and the Makali‘i (Pleiades), were told to enrich the students’ appreciation of different cultures. Star alignments, like the staff of the Southern Cross, were presented as wayfinding techniques for determining compass direction. Special attention was devoted to locating Polaris (Hōkū Pa‘a) using multiple alignments besides the traditional pairing of Dubhe and Merak, since cloud conditions in the real sky could limit a navigator’s view. The planetarium experience was supplemented by a classroom workshop involving the construction of a simple magnetic compass. This hands-on activity blended science, art and technology. Students explored the science of geomagnetism, designed their own compass rose and assembled a simple magnetic compass from two sewing needles, card stock, film canister, push-pin and snap-on fastener. The materials were compact enough to pack 150 kits for the trip. The full activity can be found at aerospace.wcc. html. My wife Nancy and I began

our travels across Italy in early April with a multi-day tour of Rome. That was followed with a scenic bus trip across the Apennines to the picturesque town of Vasto, a popular beach resort on the Adriatic coastline, where my father was born.

Travels to Perugia

Workshop on constructing a magnetic compass in Gorizia. photo by Nancy Heu

Simonetta Ercoli and Joe Ciotti dining in Perugia. Photo courtesy Simonetta Ercoli.

Polynesian Voyaging seminar by Joe Ciotti at Planetario Ignazio Danti. Photo by Simonetta Ercoli.

December 2011 Planetarian

We then traveled by train to the ancient Etruscan city of Perugia, where we met Simonetta Ercoli, the coordinator of the Planetario Ignazio Danti. That first night, she treated us to a family-style dinner with her staff at a cozy Italian restaurant. The joy of eating is a must in Italy. Over the next two days, Simonetta and I joined forces to conduct lessons for the visiting high school students. Simonetta operated the Gambato projector under the theater’s 8.4m dome, while I lectured. This was the first time I had ever relinquished control of the projector while speaking. After an initial practice session together, we soon got in sync for the live shows with the students. We preceded each planetarium talk with a brief lecture in the adjacent classroom and returned there for the magnetic compass workshop. Throughout my trip, I discovered that the students had a fair command of English. As expected, their listening skills appeared more advanced than their speaking skills. Some were obviously more fluent than others, or perhaps more outgoing. I intentionally slowed my normal speaking pace and avoided American idioms as much as possible. Encouraging students to speak can be a challenge. One successful technique I used was to ask, “How do you say that in Italian?” That not only gave me a chance to check whether they were listening and comprehending, but also afforded them a more comfortable zone in which to start speaking in Italian first, then in English. I could sense that their English was fairly well developed whenever they laughed at my jokes. That higher language skill indicated


not only comprehension, but also trans-cultural understanding. Every student I interacted with was respectful and attentive. In fact, when I entered my first class in Perugia, the students stood up and remained standing until told to sit by their teacher. I haven’t seen that sign of respect since my younger days in Catholic parochial school. Wherever I lectured, I confirmed—not surprisingly—that students thrive on hands-on activity. This provided them an opportunity to listen to simple instructions in English, while actively handling the manipulatives. After assembling their magnetic compasses, I noticed several students gazing at their cell phones with displays set to a magnetic compass app. There in front of them was irrefutable proof that their low-tech compass yielded identical readings as their expensive gadget. I couldn’t have devised a more rewarding follow-up to their self-discovery. Besides the morning lectures, I also conducted a seminar comparing Polynesian seafarers with modern spacefarers for a select group of students. Afterwards, I participated in their videotaped project called intervista con la scienza. The students set up a makeshift video studio in the classroom, where they interviewed me as one of 10 scientists in a video documentary designed to encourage young students to enter careers in science.

Travels to Brescia Our next stop brought us farther north to Brescia and into the highly-energetic world of Loris Ramponi. We first visited Loris at the Natural Science Museum, where he engages school groups with a plethora of hands-on activities. Afterwards we toured the Specola Cidnea Observatory located at Brescia’s famous castle and visited the Piazza della Loggia to view an elaborate astronomical clock constructed in the 1540s. Each morning Loris and I would set up his portable planetarium in the high school library at Liceo Scientifico di Stato A. Calini, where I gave 10 lectures over the course of three days. Several of the students were quite outgoing and asked questions throughout the presentation. One teacher later wrote that her students thoroughly enjoyed and understood the lecture and that some were even dreaming of coming to Hawai‘i to admire its night skies. One girl clearly had her sights on becoming an astronomer. She stayed after her lesson to ask about colleges in the USA. She was ecstatic to hear that Marco Micheli, a graduate student from Brescia, was already studying at the Institute for Astronomy in Hawai‘i. She was so excited that she forgot her backpack in the library and had to return later to retrieve it. Coincidentally, upon returning to Honolulu, I had the opportunity to work with Marco

observatory staff outlined their ambitious plans for constructing a solar system walk. I am extremely impressed with the active role that amateur astronomy plays in Italy. Every observatory I visited there was well equipped and designed with a craftsmanship that paid close attention to functionality and aesthetics. Loris Ramponi advising Calini student about studying astronomy in Hawai‘i. Photo by Joe Ciotti.

On next to Padov

Train travel throughout Italy is inexpensive, scenic and fairly easy to negotiate, as along as you remember to validate your ticket prior to boarding. It was a short rail ride to my next engagement at the National Meeting of Italian Planetaria in Padova. We took the opportunity to visit the Universita di Padova, where Galileo was chair of mathematics and Elena Piscopia graduated as the first woman to receive a university degree. Equally as impressive A meeting with the vice mayor of Lumezzane (left to right): Joseph Ciotti, Ivan Prandelli, Andrea Soffiantini, Tarcisio Zani, and Vice Major Luwas the Scrovegni Chapel, cio Facchinetti; seated: Wladimiro Marinello. Photo courtesy Joe Ciotti. where Giotto painted his famous fresco, the Adoration of the Magi, with its comet-like Star of Bethlehem. on a stellar occultation project involving PluThe first day of the National Meeting into and its moons Charon and Hydra. cluded a fulldome festival at the Planetario Loris and I have already begun collaboratdi Padova, which features a Sky-Skan definiti ing on various projects. I revised an English version of one of Loris’ planetarium stories projector system under an 8.5-m dome. On the called “Islands of Stars” and recorded its nar- following day, the conference moved countryside to Crespano del Grappa. Participants ration. I quickly discovered that Loris is very fond boarded at the retreat complex of Centro di of inventing games. Before class one day, he Spiritualita e Cultura Don Paolo Chiavacci, and I spent time under the inflatable dome de- which manages the Specola Astronomica Obvising a constellation game based on the Poly- servatory and Planetario Chiavacci. Besides presenting a summary report of my activities nesian star naming system I had introduced in in Italy at this meeting, I was able to send IPS my lessons. One evening Loris treated us to a home- President-elect Thomas Kraupe dual greetings cooked dinner with his family. And, true to of aloha and ciao via Skype conference call. his planetarium teaching style, he created a Visiting Gorizia variety of games as part of our dinner activLuciano Bittesini was our gracious host in ities. We later visited the Serafino Zani Astro- Gorizia. He literally welcomed us into his immediate family and home with open arms. Lunomical Observatory and Planetarium in Luciano is widely respected in Gorizia as the mamezzane just outside of Brescia. Following jor driving force behind the city’s top-notch that excursion we met with the city’s vice observatory, which includes a high-tech conmayor and local press. After I gave a PowerPoint talk on the purpose of my trip, the local trol room, user-friendly classroom and unique

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planetarium. The Farra d’Isonzo Planetarium consists of an 8-m inflatable dome that is enclosed inside a semi-permanent geodesic exterior shell. The theater is outfitted with a Digitalis projector and 52 lounge chairs. This facility is operated by dedicated club members of the Circolo Culturale Astronomico di Farra (CCAF), who are credited with discovering over 140 asteroids, including the first Italian-discovered Apollo NEO. My first lecture in Gorizia was appropriately given to students enrolled in a pre-captain’s navigation program in Trieste. Later that day, they took flying lessons at Luciano’s flight club. My wife and I also took turns flying with Luciano in his Pioneer 200, which offered a bird’s eye view of Gorizia’s spectacular countryside. We even flew across into neighboring Slovenia. As a private pilot who constantly negotiates the high-density air traffic control space surrounding Honolulu, this type of unrestricted flying was a joy. After a lecture one evening, we took the audience outside onto the spacious observation deck to identify the stars and review the Polynesian navigational techniques just covered in the planetarium. During one of our free days, we drove out to Aiello, renowned as the town of sundials. Over 70 elaborate sundials currently decorate this community. That number continues to grows with Aiello’s annual sundial festival in mid-spring. The CCAF members surprised us one evening during a stroll through the town of Gardisca d’Isonzo. There in the central square was a larger than life statue of my ancestor— Marziano Ciotti, an Italian patriot who fought under Giuseppe Garibaldi. That evening we toasted our newfound friendship at a restaurant on Via M. Ciotti. This was typical of the warm welcome we received throughout our stay in Italy and the cherished memories we brought back to Honolulu. I

Ogrefish, based in Judenburg, Austria, was founded in 2010 to bring new and different topics into the dome. Its first fulldome theater festival, TOWERdome, was held in September at the Star Tower Planetarium in Judenburg. The top three entrants were awarded cash prizes and a “tower,” with a Golden Tower going to first, Silver Tower to second and Bronze Tower to third. Entries were rated on content, image and sound, along with entertainment value. A total of 15 points was possible. The winners were:

Farra d’Isonzo Planetarium and Circolo Culturale Astronomico di Farra (CCAF) members (left to right): Joseph Ciotti, Nancy Heu, Franco Piani, Franco Bressan, Enrico Pettarin. Photo courtesy Nancy Heu

Aerial view of Farra d’Isonzo Planetarium, Gorizia. Photo by Joe Ciotti.

First, Into the Deep, Ogrefish, Austria, 13.80 points Second, Nanocam, El Exilio, Spain, 13.33 points  Third, Hysteria United, VJs, Brazil, 12.67 points Fourth, Across The Universe, Procyon, Austria, 12.57 points Fifth, Darwin and His Fabulous Orchids, Ralph Heinsohn, Germany, 12.56 points Sixth, Natural Selection, Mirage3D, The Netherlands, 12.46 points Seventh, Realm of Light, Reef Distribution, Germany, 12.06 points Eighth, Film No. 217, Julia Wiesner, Germany, 12.00 points Ninth, Kaluoka’hina, Reef Distribution, Germany, 10.40 points

December 2011 Planetarian

Tenth, Life: A Cosmic Story, California Academy of Sciences, United States, 9.50 points Eleventh, Alien Action, Ralph Heinsohn, Germany, 8.57 points You can learn more about Ogrefish at www. I

from Mario Di Maggio

The planetarium is a great place for fooling around in public. Cute smart chicks and everyone’s looking straight up! Planetarium is my fave museum! say whaaat?! The Planetarium is awesome! The dark early morning sky is so clear right now it’s like I’m about to go run around in a planetarium. Amazing! i skip tuition today to go to the Planetarium. omg. i met with the hot astronaut ;D i’m sorry mama ;)


Book Reviews April S. Whitt Fernbank Science Center 156 Heaton Park Drive NE Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA

2012: The Bible and the End of the World

Mark Hitchcock, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7369-26515, softbound. Reviewed by Francine Jackson, University of Rhode Island Planetarium, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. It seems as if the dreaded 2012 phenomenon is taking the place of being asked to interpret horoscopes in today’s astronomer’s life. And, as the time is fast approaching, more and more people are looking for reassurance that “maybe” the time isn’t exact. After all, haven’t there been a fair amount of misses as to the end-of-the-world date? So, why the big push to believe that an annual occurrence will signal the downfall of civilization? As a different twist to the topic, Mark Hitchcock, pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, decided to look at the evidence for 2012 from a biblical perspective. He begins with the facts as we allegedly know them, and does his best to try to be as objective as possible. But, then, he forgets his topic and goes through the prophecies of Nostradamus, especially with respect to the atom bomb and the rise of Adolph Hitler, then at the last instant states he places “no stock” in any of them. On to the Bible! If nothing else, Hitchcock has essentially memorized the Bible, and places his faith in the teachings it holds. But, he also mentions that some of the prophecies the Bible offers can only be found by “skipping words,” reading every 100th (1000th, 864th, etc.) word to receive the true message and real teaching the book offers. Then he begins to cite actual chapters and verses, directly equating their words with real events. He also lists many as yet unfulfilled prophesies, including the rapture, which has been written about and made into popular

movies, the “mark of the beast,” and the reunification of the Roman Empire, leading us to believe that there’s probably plenty of time to go before the end of the world comes to us. In other words, if you are or know of anyone who’s worried about yet another end-ofthe-world date, read this. It should help to assuage your fears.

Planetary Sciences, 2nd Edition

Imke de Pater and Jack J. Lissauer, Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-85371-2. Reviewed by Bruce L Dietrich, Wyomssing, Pennsylvania, USA. “Alien planets have hit the commodities market,” opines Science; “publishers expand E-textbooks offerings for the classroom,” reports the Wall Street Journal. All the while the frisson between particle physics and astronomy deepens. Fortunately, for those of us selecting a senior level planetary science text, two wonderfully talented authors continue their collaboration for Cambridge University Press. Together they have written a comprehensive introduction to planetary science for our students and a substantial, yet convenient, reference for ourselves.

Imke de Pater is an astronomy professor at Berkeley. She is well known for having championed the observations of radio emissions during the impact of comet D/ShoemakerLevy 9, which lead to the detailed investigation of the impact effects on Jupiter’s magne-

tosphere. Her specialty areas include adaptive optics, comets, speckle imaging and magnetic particle vibrations. Jack J. Lissauer is a co-investigator on the Kepler Space Telescope Mission. He received his PhD in mathematics from the University of California. His primary research interests are the formation of planetary systems, planetary dynamics and chaos, planetary ring systems, and circumstellar/proto planetary disks. He is co-discover of the inner satellites of Uranus, Cupid and Mab. Planetary Sciences has the content and organization to awaken the natural curiosity of able minds and makes abundant connections with many great resources to satisfy them. Transformative teachers will applaud this one! This text provides a panoptic sweep of the most compelling subjects in modern astronomy; moreover, it provides more than three hundred rigorous exercises to “keep the little gray cells” stimulated. During the last several months, both the announcement of S/2011 134340 (a fourth moon around Pluto) and TrEs-2b (the darkest exoplanet so far known) have sent me to this text for context. An excellent diagram of the (former) quadruple system from HST Imagery was in the chapter on Minor Planets, and marvelous contrasting coverage of Encelidous came shining forth from the chapter on Surface Geology. As a bonus I learned more about its South Polar Geyser Effect, which is now known to “rain down” on Saturn. If you are seeking an excellent, lavishly elegant, and amazingly useful text, this one is for you.

Useful Star Names, With Nebulas And Other Celestial Names

Thomas Wm. Hamilton, Strategic Book Group, Durham, Connecticut, 2011, ISBN 9781-61204-614-3. Reviewed by April Whitt, Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA I wanted to let you know about this volume with the descriptive title in time for stocking your gift shops and book stores for the new year. It is, indeed, full of useful star names. And not just the usual Greek letters or catalog numbers, either. The author introduces the work as derived from “my experience of many years in the planetarium field.” Each of us has pointed out stars and constellations on the dome, in the night sky, or on a star map. We have all told stories of gods and heroes. Some of us have struggled with unfamiliar pronunciations, wondered where a particular story came from, or related the difference between Zubenelgenubi and Zubenschamali. A few have even won “constellation shoot-out” contests with that.

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The book is divided into four sections. An alphabetical listing of the 88 constellations and the meanings of their names is first. Second is a list of stars, nebulae and galaxies by constellation, with the accepted scientific designations for the named ones. This is the really useful section: a concise source for catalog listing, spectral class, distance in light years, RA and Dec, and apparent magnitude. Many of the Chinese names were new to me, and a delight to add to the night sky knowledge (although I will need help with pronunciation). An alphabetical listing of all names, the original language of each, an English translation and pronunciation is third. The last section lists entries from various catalogs crosslisted to constellations. Recommend this book to your local astronomy club. Share it with a telescope user-beginner. Purchase a copy for your planetarium library. It really is full of useful star names, and other good information.

A Brief(er) History of Time: From the Big Bang to the Big Mac®

Eric Schulman, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 1999; (out of print by available used from, ISBN 0-7167-3389-7. Reviewed by Francine Jackson, University of Rhode Island Planetarium, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. We don’t normally use the word “hoot” as a noun these days when describing how something affects us. It’s commonly been relegated to the dictionary of antiquated words and phrases. But, in this case, I had to bring it back. A Brief(er) History was part of the package sent to those of us who were fortunate enough to request a copy of the planetarium show of the same name.1 And, although the copyright is in the last millennium, this has to be one of the most unusual, yet fascinating, books I’ve ever read. Look for it online at The “story” begins at 10–43 seconds after the Big Bang, in a universe much like ours, with such creatures as dogs, cats, and Trigoencephalopodic Gnoccis. From there, we literally find ourselves at 10–37 seconds in a horse race with the four forces neck-in-neck—that is, until 10–32. At one second, The First Book of Gamow describes particle/antiparticle annihilation. One minute brings us to The Taming of the Neutrino. And so it goes. Virtually every chapter is written totally differently. Stellar Evolution is a mandate from the Marine Corps; Iron Production is a bedtime story; Language Acquisition de1 The editor, whose NASA-funded project is being referred to, wishes to note that she had nothing to do with this review. - ed

fines “grunt” in all its cases. For those of us who remember old-time television, Joe Friday and his sidekick Frank Gannon (of Dragnet – or Badge 714 – fame) dummm-da-dumdum their way into the first Human History. Care to guess the music to “50 Ways to Loot Your Neighbor”? Superpower Confrontation is a game show. Every section of the book, a different time in history, is written differently; in fact, very often the font also differs from page to page, signaling the new time. Also surprisingly, one of the largest sections in this book, and one of most tongue-incheek, is the glossary. Actually, who ever reads a book glossary, anyway? If you don’t in this case, you’ll miss one of the more unique book chapters you’ll ever find. Interspersed into the 30+ pages are “real” definitions of some of the more diverse items ever seen together. For example, on the same page you can find the definition of dinoflagellates and the persona of Michael Dorn, JFK (not to be confused with J. Danforth Quayle) and Nikita Khrushchev (did you know he was a shepherd?), and over a page and a half of everybody, in alphabetical order, who voted to impeach Bill Clinton. The author has a slight fascination with hair-care products, which find their way interwoven through much of the word list. If you are able to locate this book—or someone agrees to loan it out—you’ll be amazed how fast the entire history of time can be read. And, you just might realize, after turning the last page, how much fun you had learning about time. It really is a hoot.

Strange New Worlds

Ray Jayawardhana, Princeton University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-691-14254-8. Reviewed by Edward Albin, Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

December 2011 Planetarian

Since I am currently working on a planetarium production about exoplanets, I thought it might be a great opportunity to review a recent book on the topic. Published in 2011, Strange New Worlds, written by Ray Jaywardhana, fit the bill! One aspect that attracted me to this book was that it revealed, in story book fashion, the chronology of discoveries (including the names of the most significant players involved) in the quest for finding exoplanets. Such a format made for easy reading and, with each chapter, you could see the exoplanet story unfold. After considering some historical background about the formation of planets, the author traces the history of the search for exoplanets, recounting early false starts, including the study of 70 Ophiuchi and other misleading efforts. I think the book does a good job at capturing the excitement of the 1990’s when exoplanet discoveries were finally confirmed and the “hot Jupiter-like” planets that orbit so close to their host stars began to tally up. For me, it brought back memories of the initial thrill surrounding such planetary discoveries around stars like 51 Pegasi, 47 Ursa Majoris, and the like. As expected, the book covers techniques (wobbles/spectral shifts, transits/light curves, microlensing) used by astronomers to find exoplanets, although I thought much more detail could have been devoted to these methods. Even so, I liked the fact that the author devoted some effort to the future imaging of exoplanets, since I think our planetarium audiences would like to see actual pictures of exoplanets rather than all of the esoteric indirect evidence. An overview (although brief) of the ongoing Kepler mission is given, and I thought the discussion of plans to build NASA’s Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and Darwin orbiting interferometers was fascinating. I can’t wait to see images of other Earths, even if fuzzy! The discovery prospects of finding bio-signatures, mentioned in the concluding chapter, are interesting. I was surprised to learn that we may already have the capacity to take a first look and of course, as we find these worlds, our SETI colleagues will have viable targets for their big dishes to listen to. As the author surmises, a revolution no less significant than that of Copernicus awaits us in the discovery of these “Strange New Worlds.” Appropriately enough, the book is brought to conclusion by discussing what alien Earths might be like and how we can use technology to detect life on these distant worlds. For me personally (and I suspect that for most of our planetarium audiences), this is what the exoplanet hunt is all about—finding places like our world where life, especially intelligent life, might thrive! I


Waxing New

An eclectic collection about planetariums, products and people

compiled by Sharon Shanks

Check it out online

New shows from Bays Mountain

The staff at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago shows off their creativity and sense of humor with a neat YouTube video they call the Adler Mocumentary. Kudos to the team (Patrick and Lu), and also to Adler President Paul Knappenberger, Manager of Theaters Mark Webb, and Astronomer Mark SubbaRao for their willingness to play along. Address: www.

Adam Thanz from Bays Mountain Planetarium in Kingsport, Tennessee, has announced the availability of two new programs from his facility’s creative staff. For second grade and older, there’s A Part of the Sky Called Orion. For alignment to curriculum, it touches on the big ideas that have guided human understanding of the cosmos and its patterns in the sky. The program examines how three different ancient cultures looked at Orion: Greek, Egyptian, and Inupiaq. For third grade and older, there’s there’s Planetary Planetary Visions, an Visions, an interactive interactiveprogram program that that is best is best described as an described as an adventurous adventurous tourtour of the of solar the solar system. A flying system. A flying named robot Toggle named and Toggle the show and the operatoroperator show lead the tour. lead the tour. Both programs are available in their entirety on YouTube for evaluation. The addresses are unlisted, so type these carefully: Orion, part 1: watch?v=SNDssM0bD6Q Orion, part 2: watch?v=MpUL1TPB3mQ Planetary Visions, part 1: com/watch?v=ZeABzJR4Az0 Planetary Visions, part 2: com/watch?v=MxhA-dhL1Ac Planetary Visions, part 3: com/watch?v=BXsKgqXG8ws To see see the all the trailers trailers in higher in higher resolution, resolution, you you go can can togo thetoBays the Mountain Bays Mountain YouTube YouTube chanchannel: nel:

While you’re there George Fleenor (GeoGraphics Imaging) and Troy McClellan (Fulldome FX) have partnered to cover the final space shuttle mission and have offered their efforts free to anyone who wants to download them. The second zip folder that contains 330 sequenced images that make a short movie of the rollover of Atlantis/STS 135 from the orbiter processing facility to the vehicle assembly building. As they become available, additional collections will be released, including an assortment of images and sequences representing events such as the rollout, pad crawls, launch, landing and tow back. They are available in .png format at 2400 and 1024 resolutions. Although free, the images are for in-house use only. To download, go to GeoGraphics at www. and click on Special Items, or to Fulldome FX at

Don’t log out yet The legacy started by the inimitable Jack Horkheimer is living on. Dean Regas, outreach astronomer at the Cincinnati (Ohio) Observatory and James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida, are the hosts of the revamped program, along with Marlene Hildago, a science teacher for students with learning disabilities at St. Brendan High School in Miami, Florida. Reflecting the multiple hosts, the show is now called Star Gazers. Star Gazers is an original production of the Community Television Foundation of South Florida. Regas reports “The format and content won’t change too much but we hope to make the graphic design folks try out some new bells and whistles.” There are a couple of places to watch: at or at the Cincinnati Observatory website: website:

The new shows from Bays Mountain

Ott’s new online home Ron Proctor announces that the Ott Planetarium at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, has a new home on the web, has released two new shows (and one is free), and has opened a new discussion board for Blender users. The new website address is ottplanetarium. org.

“We’ve worked to update and automate our productions page. Now you can get show info, pricing, and watch full-length videos of every show we offer, all online,” Ron said. You can go straight to the productions page at The two new shows are Star Hunting With Messier, and Messier an Ott Glorious Planetarium Dawn. Star Student Hunting Producis an tionPlanetarium Ott that introduces Student Messier Production objects that to kids. inThe showMessier troduces runs about objects 14 minutes to kids.and The is availshow able inabout runs 1k and 2k. 14 minutes The second and is A dome master from A show, thein one available 1k Glorious Dawn you 2k. and can download The for free, second is A Glorious show, the one Dawn, you the newest can download Open for Source free, is A Glorious Planetariumthe newest Dawn, Show. The Source Open 5-minute Planshow was etarium Show. produced The 5-minute by participants show was produced at the 2011participants by Blender Production at the 2011 Workshop Blender and Produccan be used tion Workshop for science andoutreach can be used or visitor for science entry. John Boswell’s outreach or visitor (the entry. Symphony John of Boswell’s Science;(the go to Symphony of Science; go to forsymphonyofmore about him) stirring for remix more of about Carl Sagan’s him) stirring Cosmosreis featured mix of Carl in this Sagan’s planetarium Cosmos is adaptation. featured in this planetarium Finally, foradaptation. blenderheads, there’s a new support Finally, forumfor and blenderheads, discussion board there’s called a new Blendsupertarium. port forum Itsand goaldiscussion is to provide board rapid called responses Blendto questions ertarium. Its goal through is to provide crowd sourcing rapid responses and to house to questions shared through tools andcrowd tutorials sourcing in oneand place. to All skillshared house levels tools are welcome; and tutorials you can in one register place. at All skill levels are welcome; you can register at

Resources for your classroom Resources The Astronomical for your Society classroom of the

PacifSociety ofresources the Pacific The sharesAstronomical some new educational or ic shares or some new educational resources or teaching explaining astronomy: teaching explaining astronomy: •• Frank or Drake tells how he came up with • Frank Drake tells how he came up with the Drake Equation: the Drake Equation: drake. •• drake. A new classroom activity: How High Up is • A new activity: How High Up is Space: Space: •• tivities/I11_How_High_Space.pdf. An “Astronomy Behind the Headlines” pod• An the Moon” Headlines” cast“Astronomy on “ScienceBehind from the (on podcurcast from missions, the Moon” (onguest current on and“Science future Moon with rent andBurns, futureUniversity Moon missions, with guest Dr. Jack of Colorado): asDr. Jack Burns, University of Colorado): •• An Astronomer Looks at Astrology (an in• An Astronomer at Astrology (an information sheet Looks for students and instrucformation sheet for students and instructors): •• tors): A new issue of “The Universe in the Class• A new “The Universe in the Classroom” issue withofinformation and activities room” with information and activities for the 2012 Transit of Venus: www.asfor the 2012 Transit of Venus: tnl/78/78.html. tnl/78/78.html. •• The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 (a DVD• The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 (a DVDROM with 133 hands-on classroom activROM with 133 hands-on classroom activities, and lots of articles, resources, images, ities, and lots of articles, resources, images, and how-to videos for teaching astronomy and how-to videos for teaching astronomy at many levels and in many settings): www. at many levels and in many settings): www.

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December 2011 Planetarian


Ronald N. Hartman Former Planetarian editor

Steve Innes 1955-2011

Ronald N. Hartman passed away on August 30, 2011, after a brief illness. He was a professor of astronomy and director of the Planetarium at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California for 38 years and Ronald Hartman was well-known in the community of meteorite collectors and hunters. His passion for meteorites was kindled when he studied astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles under the renowned meteoriticist Frederick C. Leonard, a founder of the Meteoritical Society. He worked at Griffith Observatory giving public lectures in the 1960s and began investigating California dry lakes for the presence of meteorites. He discovered the Lucerne Dry Lake strewn field in 1963 and returned to that site in 1999 to find more of the illusive little black rocks from space. He built up a large collection, part of which is displayed at the Mt. San Antonio College Planetarium and library. In 2005 he founded R. N. Hartman, Inc., a company that manufactures, assembles and distributes membrane suspension boxes worldwide. He received an associate in arts degree in 1956 and a bachelor of arts degree in astronomy in 1959 from the University of California, Los Angeles, from which he also earned a master of arts in education 1973. Ron loved astronomy, he loved teaching and he loved sharing the wonders of the night sky with his students at star parties. He continued teaching even after he retired in 2005. He was fascinated by archeoastronomy and traveled to Egypt to study astronomical alignments in ancient monuments. He was active in the Pacific Planetarium Association and the International Planetarium Society. He served as an editor of the Planetarian from 1978-1981. In 1984 he received the ISP Service Award, the ISP’s most prestigious honor. I

Steve Innes, 56, died unexpectedly on Oct. 16, 2011. He was born in Ann Arbor, Mich., on April 22, 1955, the son of Rachel and Richard Innes. He graduated from high school in Ann Arbor, and graduated Steve Innes from Eastern Michigan University. He married Nancy Murphy in 1980, and lived in Denver, Colorado, where Ben and Hilary were born. They moved to Gorham, Maine in 1995. Steve worked as a technician in both the Southworth Planetarium and the College of Science, Technology and Health at the University of Southern Maine. This past spring, Steve was awarded the Nelson and Small Prize by the Department of Engineering faculty for his dedicated service. Steve loved being outdoors and volunteered many hours working on Maine AT club corridor maintenance. Steve and his wife have been active members of the Down East Ski Club and they have enjoyed spending their winter weekends skiing with their friends at Shawnee Peak. Steve had a passion for “tinkering” with small engines, lawnmowers, his miniature trains, his observatory, and telescopes. He volunteered with Gorham High School robotics team while his son was a member. Steve is survived by his wife Nancy of Gorham; daughter Hilary of Colorado, son Ben of Gorham. Gifts may be made in memory of Steve to support USM’s planetarium, payable to USM, and mailed to: Advancement and Donor Services, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, Maine 04104-9300. Please specify Southworth Planetarium Fund in memory of Steven O. Innes. Alternatevly, gifts also may be made to the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, P.O. Box I 283, Augusta, Maine 04332-0283.

Global Immersion appoints operations head Global Immersion, headquartered West Sussex, United Kingdom, has announced the appointment of Paul Isaacs as head of operations. Isaacs possesses more than 35 years of experience in fields of engineering, programme management, senior management and leadership. Isaacs holds an MBA and joins Global Immersion from Rockwell Collins Simulation & Training Solutions, where he held the position of principle manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa Programmes. Earlier in his career, Isaacs served as operations director at Evans & Sutherland, general manager at Alteon Training, and programme manager at British Aerospace, having launched his career in simulation engineering in the Royal Air Force. Isaacs is also a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management.

New in the Sky-Skan catalog: Undiscovered Worlds from the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science, Boston. This 30-minute program, suitable for family audiences and school groups, looks at the search for exoplanets. Full previews of this and many of Sky-Skan’s distributed shows can be found at www.skyskan. com/products/content.

ESO outreach resources Oana Sandu from the ESO shares a number of interesting outreach materials they now have available: As one of the leading ground-based observatories in the world, the European Southern Observatory has a lot to offer. To make it easier for you not to miss on any opportunity, the education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD) has launched a suite of newsletters to bring you the latest products, resources and outreach news from ESO. You might find the latest ESO Outreach Community Newsletters useful for your activities as they contain news about: outreach products such as: CAPjournal; SpaceScoop: Astronomy news for children; virtual tours and live web cams from ESO’s telescopes; iPad apps; Science in School and more. To subscribe to any of these newsletters, visit I

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Planetarians’ Calendar of Events 2011 31 December. Deadline for IPS Eugenides Foundation Script contest. (see page 22)

2012 3-5 February. Third IMERSA Fulldome Summit, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Colorado, USA. Contact: Dan Neafus, dan. 18 March. International Day of Planetaria. 31 March. Deadline for application for scholarship funds (IPS support Baton Rouge Conference attendance by individuals). 14-15 April. Brembate di Sopra, Bergamo, Italy. Italian Association of Planetaria (PLANIT), XXVII National Conference, Italy, and 2nd Full-Dome Italian Festival. During the conference Skype session for planetarians from other countries.; cotact 18-20 April, “Quality, Honesty and Beauty in science and technology communication,” PCST-International Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference XII, Palazzo dei Congressi, Florence, Italy May. ECSITE Annual Conference (European Network of Science Centres and Museums). Site and dates will be available after 25 October 2011. 5-7 May. ADP 2012, Annual meeting of German speaking planetaria, Planetarium Wolfsburg, Germany. 8-12 May: 6th FullDome Festival in the Jena Zeiss-Planetarium. Jena, Germany. The 6th FullDome Festival again will show fulllength feature shows, lots of student works and clips of independent and professional producers. The main topic of the Festival will be “Dissolving Space” - How to use fulldome content to make the dome invisible. An international jury will present FullDome Awards for the best entries. Contact: Schorcht Volkmar, 17-20 May. Association of French Speaking Planetariums (APLF), Yearly Meeting, Planétarium de Bretagne, Pleumeur-Bodou, France, France. 31 May–2 June. ECSITE Annual Conference (European Network of Science Centres and Museums), Cité de l’Espace, Toulouse, France 11-15 July. ESOF 2012, Euroscience Open Forum, Dublin City of Science 2012, 20-21 July. International Planetarium Society Council Meeting, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 21-22 July. Southeastern Planetarium Association (SEPA), 2012 conference, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. 22-26 July. 21st International Planetarium Society Conference, Irene W. Pennington Planetarium, Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, jelvert@, IPS conference will Ustream the opening ceremony, keynote speaker, business meeting, and paper sessions each day.

August-September (date in planning). British Association of Planetaria (BAP), annual meeting, United Kigdom. Contact: Shaaron Leverment, 6-10 August. Spitz Summer Institute, Spitz, Inc. Chadds Ford (near Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, USA, annual event focusing on planetarium education. Includes instruction in Starry Night real time software, curriculum and live lessons/teaching with SciDome digital planetariums. Beginner, intermediate and advanced sessions. 3-16 October. Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference, COSI (Center of Science and Industry), Columbus, Ohio. 24-27 October. Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA), annual conference, North Hills High School Planetarium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Contact: Susan Batson.

2013 16-19 October. Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA), Annual conference, Peoria Riverfront Museum, Peoria, Illinois, USA. Contact: Sheldon Shafer. 19-22 October. Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference, Explora, NM Museum of Natural History & Science, National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

2014 16-20 March. Science Center World Summit, Technopolis, Mechelen and Brussels, Belgium. Partners: Technopolis, Flemish science center, Mechelen, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels.

Yearly Deadlines for “A Week in Italy” 31 August. Deadline for the applicants of “An experience in Italy for a French Speaking Planetarium Operator,” in collaboration with APLF. 15 September. Deadline for the applicants of “A Week in Italy for an American Planetarium Operator,” in collaboration with IPS Portable Planetarium Committee. 30 September. Deadline for the applicants of “An experience in Italy for a British Planetarium Operator,” in collaboration with BAP. For more information on the “Week in Italy,” go to: For corrections and new information for the Calendar of Events, please send a message to Loris Ramponi at osservatorio@ More details about several of these upcoming events are included in the International News column and elsewhere in the Planetarian. The most up-to-date information also is available online at the International Planetarian’s Calendar of Events at I

December 2011 Planetarian


Last Light April S. Whitt Fernbank Science Center 156 Heaton Park Drive NE Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA Alert reader Sam Storch responded to a posting on the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society’s list-serve recently: This interesting quote came from the TMobile girl. You know, the one in the pink or pink and white dress. MyDaily: Hi, Carly. We want to know more about you—the real girl, not the 4G girl. What’s your sign? Carly Foulkes: “I’ve always been a Leo, but now with this whole new astrology signs business, it turns out I’m actually a Cancer. I was freaked at first, but now I’ve read up on the Cancer thing and it actually makes a lot more sense.” As Sam said, “I guess that there’s a lot of work still to be done. In the immortal words of Ralph Kramden1, perhaps she was “born under the sign of Pistachio, the Nut!”

ing bugs and voting each other off the island is standard fare. Here’s an interesting scenario, adapted from one floating around the internet recently. Three male and three female administrators will be dropped into planetariums for one school year. Each contestant will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum, and will work with classes of 20-25 students. Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems. Each contestant must complete written program outlines at least three days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create Can you survive this? their materials accordingly. They will be reHave you heard about the next planned quired to teach students, handle misconSurvivor show? Survivor is a “reality televiduct, implement technology, document atsion” program popular among some viewers. tendance, write and produce new programs A group of people is dropped into some hos(none to cost more than 25 euros), make bultile environment and required to survive. Eatletin boards and/or exhibits, answer questions from the media, communicate with teachers, 1 Ralph Kramden was a character on the Honeymoonand arrange tours for the local administration. ers, an early television sitcom, played by Jackie GleaThey must not laugh at, nor scorn, quesson. tions about Mars appearing as large as the full moon, the end of the world in 2012 or the Mayan calendar, a large body moving between the Earth and the sun and cutting off its light for two days at some unspecified date, satellites raining debris over the Earth, when the next comet will be visible, or “my sign.” They must also stand in the planetarium doorway between shows to monitor the exhibit area. Sure, we’ve got that department: Many thanks to Kris McCall, Sudekum PlaneIn addition, they tarium, Nashville, Tennessee, for sharing a survey she received. Photoshop enwill complete the rehancements to the actual survey by the editor.

Late in September the weather cooperated to give us an observatory at the end of the rainbow. Photo by Ed Albin, Fernbank Science Center. (for a really cool poster about rainbows, check the Chandra web site at

quired fire drills, tornado drills, and Code Red drills for shooting attacks each month. They must attend workshops and faculty meetings, and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the SOLS (speakers of other languages) tests. If they are ill or having a bad day they must not let it show. Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, social studies (and maybe some astronomy) into their programs. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate the audience at all times. If all audience members do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the contestant will be held responsible. The contestants will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to 30 minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day. The contestants will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class. If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, public hours. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. The contestants must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time. The winner of this season of Survivor will I be allowed to return to his/her job.

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Vol 40 No 4  

Journal of the International Planetarium Society

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