Planetarium

A planetarium (plural planetaria or planetariums) is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation.[1][2][3]

A dominant feature of most planetaria is the large dome-shaped projection screen onto which scenes of stars, planets, and other celestial objects can be made to appear and move realistically to simulate the complex 'motions of the heavens'. The celestial scenes can be created using a wide variety of technologies, for example precision-engineered 'star balls' that combine optical and electro-mechanical technology, slide projector, video and fulldome projector systems, and lasers. Whatever technologies are used, the objective is normally to link them together to simulate an accurate relative motion of the sky. Typical systems can be set to simulate the sky at any point in time, past or present, and often to depict the night sky as it would appear from any point of latitude on Earth.

Planetariums range in size from the 37 meter dome in St. Petersburg, Russia (called “Planetarium No 1”) to three-meter inflatable portable domes where attendees sit on the floor. The largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere is the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium at Liberty Science Center in New Jersey (27 meters in diameter). The Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, India is the largest by seating capacity (630 seats).[4] Thereafter, the China Science and Technology Museum Planetarium in Beijing, China has the largest seating capacity (442 seats). In North America, the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has the greatest number of seats (423).

The term planetarium is sometimes used generically to describe other devices which illustrate the solar system, such as a computer simulation or an orrery. Planetarium software refers to a software application that renders a three-dimensional image of the sky onto a two-dimensional computer screen. The term planetarian is used to describe a member of the professional staff of a planetarium.

Belgrade Planetarium theatre day
Inside a planetarium projection hall.
(Belgrade Planetarium, Serbia)
Belgrade Planetarium theatre night
Inside the same hall during projection.
(Belgrade Planetarium, Serbia)
Planetarium of Omar Khayyam - Nishapur
A planetarium under construction in Nishapur, near the Mausoleum of Omar Khayyam.

History

Early

ZeissMark1
The Mark I projector installed in the Deutsches Museum in 1923 was the world's first planetarium projector.

The ancient Greek polymath Archimedes is attributed with creating a primitive planetarium device that could predict the movements of the Sun and the Moon and the planets. The discovery of the Antikythera mechanism proved that such devices already existed during antiquity, though likely after Archimedes' lifetime. Campanus of Novara (1220–1296) described a planetary equatorium in his Theorica Planetarum, and included instructions on how to build one. The Globe of Gottorf built around 1650 had constellations painted on the inside.[5] These devices would today usually be referred to as orreries (named for the Earl of Orrery, an Irish peer: an 18th-century Earl of Orrery had one built). In fact, many planetaria today have what are called projection orreries, which project onto the dome a Sun with planets (usually limited to Mercury up to Saturn) going around it in something close to their correct relative periods.

The small size of typical 18th century orreries limited their impact, and towards the end of that century a number of educators attempted some larger scale simulations of the heavens. The efforts of Adam Walker (1730–1821) and his sons are noteworthy in their attempts to fuse theatrical illusions with educational aspirations. Walker's Eidouranion was the heart of his public lectures or theatrical presentations. Walker's son describes this "Elaborate Machine" as "twenty feet high, and twenty-seven in diameter: it stands vertically before the spectators, and its globes are so large, that they are distinctly seen in the most distant parts of the Theatre. Every Planet and Satellite seems suspended in space, without any support; performing their annual and diurnal revolutions without any apparent cause". Other lecturers promoted their own devices: R E Lloyd advertised his Dioastrodoxon, or Grand Transparent Orrery, and by 1825 William Kitchener was offering his Ouranologia, which was 42 feet (13 m) in diameter. These devices most probably sacrificed astronomical accuracy for crowd-pleasing spectacle and sensational and awe-provoking imagery.

The oldest, still working planetarium can be found in the Dutch town Franeker. It was built by Eise Eisinga (1744–1828) in the living room of his house. It took Eisinga seven years to build his planetarium, which was completed in 1781.

In 1905 Oskar von Miller (1855–1934) of the Deutsches Museum in Munich commissioned updated versions of a geared orrery and planetarium from M Sendtner, and later worked with Franz Meyer, chief engineer at the Carl Zeiss optical works in Jena, on the largest mechanical planetarium ever constructed, capable of displaying both heliocentric and geocentric motion. This was displayed at the Deutsches Museum in 1924, construction work having been interrupted by the war. The planets travelled along overhead rails, powered by electric motors: the orbit of Saturn was 11.25 m in diameter. 180 stars were projected onto the wall by electric bulbs.

While this was being constructed, von Miller was also working at the Zeiss factory with German astronomer Max Wolf, director of the Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Königstuhl observatory of the University of Heidelberg, on a new and novel design, inspired by Wallace W. Atwood's work at the Chicago Academy of Sciences and by the ideas of Walther Bauersfeld and Rudolf Straubel[6] at Zeiss. The result was a planetarium design which would generate all the necessary movements of the stars and planets inside the optical projector, and would be mounted centrally in a room, projecting images onto the white surface of a hemisphere. In August 1923, the first (Model I) Zeiss planetarium projected images of the night sky onto the white plaster lining of a 16 m hemispherical concrete dome, erected on the roof of the Zeiss works. The first official public showing was at the Deutsches Museum in Munich on October 21, 1923.[7]

After World War II

Birla Planetarium, Kolkata
The M.P. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, India (est. 1962)

When Germany was divided into East and West Germany after the war, the Zeiss firm was also split. Part remained in its traditional headquarters at Jena, in East Germany, and part migrated to West Germany. The designer of the first planetaria for Zeiss, Walther Bauersfeld, also migrated to West Germany with the other members of the Zeiss management team. There he remained on the Zeiss West management team until his death in 1959.

The West German firm resumed making large planetaria in 1954, and the East German firm started making small planetaria a few years later. Meanwhile, the lack of planetarium manufacturers had led to several attempts at construction of unique models, such as one built by the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, which operated 1952-2003. The Korkosz brothers built a large projector for the Boston Museum of Science, which was unique in being the first (and for a very long time only) planetarium to project the planet Uranus. Most planetaria ignore Uranus as being at best marginally visible to the naked eye.

A great boost to the popularity of the planetarium worldwide was provided by the Space Race of the 1950s and 60s when fears that the United States might miss out on the opportunities of the new frontier in space stimulated a massive program to install over 1,200 planetaria in U.S. high schools.

Spitz Star Projector
Early Spitz star projector

Armand Spitz recognized that there was a viable market for small inexpensive planetaria. His first model, the Spitz A, was designed to project stars from a dodecahedron, thus reducing machining expenses in creating a globe.[8] Planets were not mechanized, but could be shifted by hand. Several models followed with various upgraded capabilities, until the A3P, which projected well over a thousand stars, had motorized motions for latitude change, daily motion, and annual motion for Sun, Moon (including phases), and planets. This model was installed in hundreds of high schools, colleges, and even small museums from 1964 to the 1980s.

Goto-E5
A Goto E-5 projector.

Japan entered the planetarium manufacturing business in the 1960s, with Goto and Minolta both successfully marketing a number of different models. Goto was particularly successful when the Japanese Ministry of Education put one of their smallest models, the E-3 or E-5 (the numbers refer to the metric diameter of the dome) in every elementary school in Japan.

Phillip Stern, as former lecturer at New York City's Hayden Planetarium, had the idea of creating a small planetarium which could be programmed. His Apollo model was introduced in 1967 with a plastic program board, recorded lecture, and film strip. Unable to pay for this himself, Stern became the head of the planetarium division of Viewlex, a mid-size audio-visual firm on Long Island. About thirty canned programs were created for various grade levels and the public, while operators could create their own or run the planetarium live. Purchasers of the Apollo were given their choice of two canned shows, and could purchase more. A few hundred were sold, but in the late 1970s Viewlex went bankrupt for reasons unrelated to the planetarium business.

During the 1970s, the OmniMax movie system (now known as IMAX Dome) was conceived to operate on planetarium screens. More recently, some planetaria have re-branded themselves as dome theaters, with broader offerings including wide-screen or "wraparound" films, fulldome video, and laser shows that combine music with laser-drawn patterns.

Learning Technologies Inc. in Massachusetts offered the first easily portable planetarium in 1977. Philip Sadler designed this patented system which projected stars, constellation figures from many mythologies, celestial coordinate systems, and much else, from removable cylinders (Viewlex and others followed with their own portable versions).

When Germany reunified in 1989, the two Zeiss firms did likewise, and expanded their offerings to cover many different size domes.

Computerized planetaria

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Planetarium (Est.2003), Dhaka, Bangladesh uses Astrotec perforated aluminum curtain, GSS-Helios Space Simulator, Astrovision-70 and many other special effects projectors[9]

In 1983, Evans & Sutherland installed the first planetarium projector displaying computer graphics (Hansen Planetarium, Salt Lake City, Utah)—the Digistar I projector used a vector graphics system to display starfields as well as line art.

The newest generation of planetaria offer a fully digital projection system, using fulldome video technology. This gives the operator great flexibility in showing not only the modern night sky as visible from Earth, but any other image they wish (including the night sky as visible from points far distant in space and time).

Sega Homestar planetarium cropped
A Sega Homestar home planetarium projector

A new generation of home planetaria was released in Japan by Takayuki Ohira in cooperation with Sega. Ohira is worldwide known as a mastermind for building portable planetaria used at exhibitions and events such as the Aichi World Expo in 2005. Later, the Megastar star projectors released by Takayuki Ohira were installed in several science museums around the world. Meanwhile, Sega Toys continues to produce the Homestar series intended for home use, however by projecting 10,000 stars on the ceiling makes it semi-professional.[10]

In 2009 Microsoft Research and Go-Dome partnered on the WorldWide Telescope project. The goal of the project is to bring sub-$1000 planetaria to small groups of school children as well as provide technology for large public planetaria.

Technology

Domes

Dome of the Athens Planetarium
The dome of the Athens Planetarium.
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-1008-020, Berlin, Zeiss-Großplanetarium
The Large Zeiss Planetarium in Berlin, 1987.
Planetariet
Inside of the Planetarium located in the Science Factory (Vitenfabrikken) in Sandnes, Norway.
Small inflatable portable planetarium dome
A small inflatable portable planetarium dome.
Planetarium21-alex
GM-II starfield projector at Priyadarshini Planetarium, Trivandrum, India

Planetarium domes range in size from 3 to 35 m in diameter, accommodating from 1 to 500 people. They can be permanent or portable, depending on the application.

  • Portable inflatable domes can be inflated in minutes. Such domes are often used for touring planetaria visiting, for example, schools and community centres.
  • Temporary structures using glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) segments bolted together and mounted on a frame are possible. As they may take some hours to construct, they are more suitable for applications such as exhibition stands, where a dome will stay up for a period of at least several days.
  • Negative-pressure inflated domes are suitable in some semi-permanent situations. They use a fan to extract air from behind the dome surface, allowing atmospheric pressure to push it into the correct shape.
  • Smaller permanent domes are frequently constructed from glass reinforced plastic. This is inexpensive but, as the projection surface reflects sound as well as light, the acoustics inside this type of dome can detract from its utility. Such a solid dome also presents issues connected with heating and ventilation in a large-audience planetarium, as air cannot pass through it.
  • Older planetarium domes were built using traditional construction materials and surfaced with plaster. This method is relatively expensive and suffers the same acoustic and ventilation issues as GRP.
  • Most modern domes are built from thin aluminium sections with ribs providing a supporting structure behind.[11] The use of aluminium makes it easy to perforate the dome with thousands of tiny holes. This reduces the reflectivity of sound back to the audience (providing better acoustic characteristics), lets a sound system project through the dome from behind (offering sound that seems to come from appropriate directions related to a show), and allows air circulation through the projection surface for climate control.

The realism of the viewing experience in a planetarium depends significantly on the dynamic range of the image, i.e., the contrast between dark and light. This can be a challenge in any domed projection environment, because a bright image projected on one side of the dome will tend to reflect light across to the opposite side, "lifting" the black level there and so making the whole image look less realistic. Since traditional planetarium shows consisted mainly of small points of light (i.e., stars) on a black background, this was not a significant issue, but it became an issue as digital projection systems started to fill large portions of the dome with bright objects (e.g., large images of the sun in context). For this reason, modern planetarium domes are often not painted white but rather a mid grey colour, reducing reflection to perhaps 35-50%. This increases the perceived level of contrast.

A major challenge in dome construction is to make seams as invisible as possible. Painting a dome after installation is a major task and, if done properly, the seams can be made almost to disappear.

Traditionally, planetarium domes were mounted horizontally, matching the natural horizon of the real night sky. However, because that configuration requires highly inclined chairs for comfortable viewing "straight up", increasingly domes are being built tilted from the horizontal by between 5 and 30 degrees to provide greater comfort. Tilted domes tend to create a favoured 'sweet spot' for optimum viewing, centrally about a third of the way up the dome from the lowest point. Tilted domes generally have seating arranged 'stadium-style' in straight, tiered rows; horizontal domes usually have seats in circular rows, arranged in concentric (facing center) or epicentric (facing front) arrays.

Planetaria occasionally include controls such as buttons or joysticks in the arm-rests of seats to allow audience feedback that influences the show in real time.

Often around the edge of the dome (the 'cove') are:

  • Silhouette models of geography or buildings like those in the area round the planetarium building.
  • Lighting to simulate the effect of twilight or urban light pollution.
  • In one planetarium the horizon decor included a small model of a UFO flying.

Traditionally, planetaria needed many incandescent lamps around the cove of the dome to help audience entry and exit, to simulate sunrise and sunset, and to provide working light for dome cleaning. More recently, solid-state LED lighting has become available that significantly decreases power consumption and reduces the maintenance requirement as lamps no longer have to be changed on a regular basis.

The world's largest mechanical planetarium is located in Monico, Wisconsin. The Kovac Planetarium. It is 22 feet in diameter and weighs two tons. The globe is made of wood and is driven with a variable speed motor controller. This is the largest mechanical planetarium in the world, larger than the Atwood Globe in Chicago (15 feet in diameter) and one third the size of the Hayden.

Some new planetariums now feature a glass floor, which allows spectators to stand near the center of a sphere surrounded by projected images in all directions, giving the impression of floating in outer space. For example, a small planetarium at AHHAA in Tartu, Estonia features such an installation, with special projectors for images below the feet of the audience, as well as above their heads.[12]

Traditional electromechanical/optical projectors

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-P018935, Berlin, Planetarium
A Zeiss projector in a Berlin planetarium during a show in 1939.
ZeissPlanetariumProjector MontrealPlanetarium
Zeiss projector at Montreal Planetarium
Universarium in Planetarium Hamburg
A modern, egg-shaped Zeiss projector (UNIVERSARIUM Mark IX) at the Hamburg planetarium
Киевский планетарий. Аппарат "Большой цейс - 4"
Zeiss projector at Kiev Planetarium

Traditional planetarium projection apparatus uses a hollow ball with a light inside, and a pinhole for each star, hence the name "star ball". With some of the brightest stars (e.g. Sirius, Canopus, Vega), the hole must be so big to let enough light through that there must be a small lens in the hole to focus the light to a sharp point on the dome. In later and modern planetarium star balls, the individual bright stars often have individual projectors, shaped like small hand-held torches, with focusing lenses for individual bright stars. Contact breakers prevent the projectors from projecting below the 'horizon'.

The star ball is usually mounted so it can rotate as a whole to simulate the Earth's daily rotation, and to change the simulated latitude on Earth. There is also usually a means of rotating to produce the effect of precession of the equinoxes. Often, one such ball is attached at its south ecliptic pole. In that case, the view cannot go so far south that any of the resulting blank area at the south is projected on the dome. Some star projectors have two balls at opposite ends of the projector like a dumbbell. In that case all stars can be shown and the view can go to either pole or anywhere between. But care must be taken that the projection fields of the two balls match where they meet or overlap.

Smaller planetarium projectors include a set of fixed stars, Sun, Moon, and planets, and various nebulae. Larger projectors also include comets and a far greater selection of stars. Additional projectors can be added to show twilight around the outside of the screen (complete with city or country scenes) as well as the Milky Way. Others add coordinate lines and constellations, photographic slides, laser displays, and other images.

Each planet is projected by a sharply focused spotlight that makes a spot of light on the dome. Planet projectors must have gearing to move their positioning and thereby simulate the planets' movements. These can be of these types:-

  • Copernican. The axis represents the Sun. The rotating piece that represents each planet carries a light that must be arranged and guided to swivel so it always faces towards the rotating piece that represents the Earth. This presents mechanical problems including:
    The planet lights must be powered by wires, which have to bend about as the planets rotate, and repeatedly bending copper wire tends to cause wire breakage through metal fatigue.
    When a planet is at opposition to the Earth, its light is liable to be blocked by the mechanism's central axle. (If the planet mechanism is set 180° rotated from reality, the lights are carried by the Earth and shine towards each planet, and the blocking risk happens at conjunction with Earth.)
  • Ptolemaic. Here the central axis represents the Earth. Each planet light is on a mount which rotates only about the central axis, and is aimed by a guide which is steered by a deferent and an epicycle (or whatever the planetarium maker calls them). Here Ptolemy's number values must be revised to remove the daily rotation, which in a planetarium is catered for otherwise. (In one planetarium, this needed Ptolemaic-type orbital constants for Uranus, which was unknown to Ptolemy.)
  • Computer-controlled. Here all the planet lights are on mounts which rotate only about the central axis, and are aimed by a computer.

Despite offering a good viewer experience, traditional star ball projectors suffer several inherent limitations. From a practical point of view, the low light levels require several minutes for the audience to "dark adapt" its eyesight. "Star ball" projection is limited in education terms by its inability to move beyond an earth-bound view of the night sky. Finally, in most traditional projectors the various overlaid projection systems are incapable of proper occultation. This means that a planet image projected on top of a star field (for example) will still show the stars shining through the planet image, degrading the quality of the viewing experience. For related reasons, some planetaria show stars below the horizon projecting on the walls below the dome or on the floor, or (with a bright star or a planet) shining in the eyes of someone in the audience.

However, the new breed of Optical-Mechanical projectors using fiber-optic technology to display the stars show a much more realistic view of the sky.

Digital projectors

ADLIP Jena
A fulldome laser projection.

An increasing number of planetaria are using digital technology to replace the entire system of interlinked projectors traditionally employed around a star ball to address some of their limitations. Digital planetarium manufacturers claim reduced maintenance costs and increased reliability from such systems compared with traditional "star balls" on the grounds that they employ few moving parts and do not generally require synchronisation of movement across the dome between several separate systems. Some planetaria mix both traditional opto-mechanical projection and digital technologies on the same dome.

In a fully digital planetarium, the dome image is generated by a computer and then projected onto the dome using a variety of technologies including cathode ray tube, LCD, DLP or laser projectors. Sometimes a single projector mounted near the centre of the dome is employed with a fisheye lens to spread the light over the whole dome surface, while in other configurations several projectors around the horizon of the dome are arranged to blend together seamlessly.

Digital projection systems all work by creating the image of the night sky as a large array of pixels. Generally speaking, the more pixels a system can display, the better the viewing experience. While the first generation of digital projectors were unable to generate enough pixels to match the image quality of the best traditional "star ball" projectors, high-end systems now offer a resolution that approaches the limit of human visual acuity.

LCD projectors have fundamental limits on their ability to project true black as well as light, which has tended to limit their use in planetaria. LCOS and modified LCOS projectors have improved on LCD contrast ratios while also eliminating the “screen door” effect of small gaps between LCD pixels. “Dark chip” DLP projectors improve on the standard DLP design and can offer relatively inexpensive solution with bright images, but the black level requires physical baffling of the projectors. As the technology matures and reduces in price, laser projection looks promising for dome projection as it offers bright images, large dynamic range and a very wide color space.

Show content

Ncp 2
Artistic representations of the constellations projected during a planetarium show.

Worldwide, most planetaria provide shows to the general public. Traditionally, shows for these audiences with themes such as "What's in the sky tonight?", or shows which pick up on topical issues such as a religious festival (often the Christmas star) linked to the night sky, have been popular. Pre-recorded and live presentation formats are possible. Live format are preferred by many venues because a live expert presenter can answer on-the-spot questions raised by the audience.

Since the early 1990s, fully featured 3-D digital planetaria have added an extra degree of freedom to a presenter giving a show because they allow simulation of the view from any point in space, not only the earth-bound view which we are most familiar with. This new virtual reality capability to travel through the universe provides important educational benefits because it vividly conveys that space has depth, helping audiences to leave behind the ancient misconception that the stars are stuck on the inside of a giant celestial sphere and instead to understand the true layout of the solar system and beyond. For example, a planetarium can now 'fly' the audience towards one of the familiar constellations such as Orion, revealing that the stars which appear to make up a co-ordinated shape from our earth-bound viewpoint are at vastly different distances from Earth and so not connected, except in human imagination and mythology. For especially visual or spatially aware people, this experience can be more educationally beneficial than other demonstrations.

Music is an important element to fill out the experience of a good planetarium show, often featuring forms of space-themed music, or music from the genres of space music, space rock, or classical music.

See also

References

  1. ^ King, Henry C. "Geared to the Stars; the evolution of planetariums, orreries, and astronomical clocks" University of Toronto Press, 1978
  2. ^ Directory of Planetariums, 2005, International Planetarium Society
  3. ^ Catalog of New York Planetariums, 1982
  4. ^ "Birla Planetarium ready to welcome visitors after 28-month break - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  5. ^ Marche, Jordan (2005). Theaters of Time and Space: American Planetaria, 1930-1970. Rutgers: Rutgers University Press. p. 10. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  6. ^ Engber, Daniel. "Under the Dome: The tragic, untold story of the world's first planetarium". Slate. The Slate Group. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  7. ^ Chartrand, Mark (September 1973). "A Fifty Year Anniversary of a Two Thousand Year Dream (The History of the Planetarium)". The Planetarian. 2 (3). International Planetarium Society. ISSN 0090-3213. Archived from the original on 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  8. ^ Ley, Willy (February 1965). "Forerunners of the Planetarium". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 87–98.
  9. ^ http://www.mosict.gov.bd/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=333&Itemid=388
  10. ^ Kilian, Sven (2006-09-15). "Home Planetarium Trend: Sega Toys Homestar Planetarium Pro". CScout Japan. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  11. ^ "ESOblog: How to Install a Planetarium A conversation with engineer Max Rößner about his work on the ESO Supernova". www.eso.org. Archived from the original on 7 May 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  12. ^ Aru, Margus (March–June 2012). "Under One Dome: AHHAA Science Centre Planetarium" (PDF). Planetarian: Journal of the International Planetarium Society. 41 (2): 37. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-10-02. Retrieved 2017-06-02.

External links

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is a public museum dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics. It was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. It is located on the northeast tip of Northerly Island at the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois. The Adler was the first planetarium in the United States and is part of Chicago's Museum Campus, which includes the John G. Shedd Aquarium and The Field Museum. The Adler's mission is to inspire exploration and understanding of the universe.

The Adler Planetarium opened to the public on May 12, 1930. For its design, architect Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr. was awarded the gold medal of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1931. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.The Adler is home to three full size theaters, extensive space science exhibitions, and a significant collection of antique scientific instruments and print materials. In addition, the Adler boasts the Doane Observatory, one of the only research-active, public urban observatories.

Outdoor sculptures at the planetarium include Spiral Galaxy by John David Mooney, Man Enters the Cosmos by Henry Moore, and America's Courtyard by Ary Perez and Denise Milan.

Antonín Rükl

Antonín Rükl (September 22, 1932 – July 12, 2016) was a Czech astronomer, cartographer, and author.

He was born in Čáslav, Czechoslovakia. As a student he developed what was to be a lifelong interest in astronomy. He graduated from the Czech Technical University in 1956, then joined the staff of the astronomical department of the Institute of Geodesy in Prague.

In 1960 he joined the Prague Planetarium, eventually becoming deputy director and then head. He also became chairman of the Planetary Section of the Czechoslovak Astronomical Society and served as vice president of the International Planetarium Directors Conference from 1996 until 1999. He retired at the end of 1999.During his career he was a popularizer of astronomy and authored many books on the subject. He was skilled in cartography and selenography, the skill of mapping the Moon. He illustrated many of his own books, including the highly regarded Atlas of the Moon.He was married to Sonja. They had a daughter Jane and son Mike.

Birla Planetarium, Chennai

B. M. Birla Planetarium is a large planetarium in Chennai providing a virtual tour of the night sky and holding cosmic shows on a specially perforated hemispherical aluminium inner dome. It is located at Kotturpuram in the Periyar Science and Technology Centre campus which houses eight galleries, namely, Physical Science, Electronics and Communication, Energy, Life Science, Innovation, Transport, International Dolls and Children and Materials Science, with over 500 exhibits. Built in 1988 in the memory of the great industrialist and visionary of India B. M. Birla, it is the most modern planetarium in India. Other Birla planetariums in India include the M. P. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, the Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad, and the planetariums in Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore.

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a research institute and natural history museum in San Francisco, California, that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 46 million specimens. The Academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research. It is California's oldest museum.

Completely rebuilt in 2008, the building covers 400,000 square feet (37,000 square metres).

The primary building in Golden Gate Park reopened on September 27, 2008.

Fernbank Science Center

The Fernbank Science Center is a museum, classroom, and woodland complex located in Atlanta. It is owned and operated by the DeKalb County School System, which announced in May 2012 it was considering closing the facility to cut its annual budget, then quickly shelved the plan after public outcry. The nearby Fernbank Museum of Natural History is a private non-profit organization that is separate from the Science Center.

Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is a science museum and the center of science education and research in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is named after the American scientist and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, and houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. Founded in 1824, the Franklin Institute is one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States.

Galileo Galilei planetarium

The Galileo Galilei planetarium, commonly known as Planetario, is located in Parque Tres de Febrero in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is a facility in Los Angeles, California, sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. It commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction with a close view of the Hollywood Sign and an extensive array of space and science-related displays. Admission has been free since the observatory's opening in 1935, in accordance with the will of Griffith J. Griffith, the benefactor after whom the observatory is named.

James Madison University

James Madison University (also known as JMU, Madison, or James Madison) is a public research university in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, the institution was renamed Madison College in 1938 in honor of President James Madison and then James Madison University in 1977. The university is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, with the campus quadrangle located on South Main Street.

Kerala Science and Technology Museum

Kerala Science and Technology Museum is an autonomous institution established by Government of Kerala, India, in 1984, as a center for popularisation of science and scientific temper among the general public, especially among the young generation. The institution is in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city, in Kerala. The Priyadarsini Planetarium is attached to the museum, functioning since 1994.

Nehru Planetarium

Nehru Planetariums are the five planetariums in India, named after India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. These are located in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore, plus there is a Jawahar Planetarium in Prayagraj.

The Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi is situated on the grounds of Teen Murti Bhavan, officially known as 'Nehru Memorial Museum and Library', earlier the official residence of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and now a museum in his memory. In 1964, the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund was set up to promote his ideas and it undertook to build the Nehru Planetarium with its aim being the promotion of astronomy education. This planetarium, like its namesake in Mumbai, was also inaugurated by Smt. Indira Gandhi on 6 February 1984. One of the major attractions of this place is the Soyuz T-10 which carried India's first cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma to space, along with his space suit and mission journal.

The Sky Theatre shown at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium are very popular and attract about more than 200,000 visitors per year. The sky theatre is a dome shaped theatre. It shows information on constellations and planets. Visuals such as Cartoons, Paintings, Computer animations, video clippings and special effects are liberally used in the programmes at the sky theatre.

The planetarium was reopened in September 2010, after renovations worth Rs. 11 crore, ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and received Queen's Baton. It now has 'Definiti optical star projector "Megastar" that can show 2 million stars. It also sets up old telescopes, projection boxes and solar filters at its premises at major Solar eclipses.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (PPFMOS, formerly known as the Miami Science Museum) is a science museum, planetarium, and aquarium located in Miami, Florida, US. Originally located in Coconut Grove, the museum relocated to Museum Park in the downtown area adjacent to the Perez Art Museum Miami in 2017.

Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium

The Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium in Memphis, Tennessee, serves as the Mid-South's major science and historical museum and features exhibits ranging from archeology to chemistry. Over 240,000 people visit the museum each year.The museum is part of the Pink Palace Family of Museums, a collection of historic, educational, and technological attractions maintained by the City of Memphis and Memphis Museums, Inc. The Lichterman Nature Center, the first accredited nature center in the United States, is part of the Pink Palace Family of Museums, as well as the Coon Creek Science Center, an education center which is open to organized groups and features a fossil site.The Mallory-Neely House and Magevney House are also part of the Pink Palace Family of Museums. The Mallory-Neely House is a three-story Italianate Victorian mansion built in 1852, and features 25 rooms and most of its original furnishings. The Magevney House, an 1830s cottage furnished as it might have been in 1850, is one of the city's oldest remaining residences.

The Sharpe Planetarium, housed at the Pink Palace, features 165-seat theater-in-the-round auditorium and offers public shows that project star fields, visual images, and laser lights on a domed ceiling. The Crew Training International 3D Giant Theater opened on January 21, 1995 and features a four-story high movable screen. The Pink Palace Museum, the Sharpe Planetarium, and the Crew Training International 3D Giant Theater are accredited members of the American Alliance of Museums.

Planetarium hypothesis

The planetarium hypothesis, conceived in 2001 by Stephen Baxter, attempts to provide a solution to the Fermi paradox by holding that our astronomical observations represent an illusion, created by a Type III civilization capable of manipulating matter and energy on galactic scales. He postulates that we do not see evidence of extraterrestrial life because the universe has been engineered so that it appears empty of other life.

Rose Center for Earth and Space

The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a part of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Center's complete name is The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space. The main entrance is located on the northern side of the museum on 81st Street near Central Park West in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Completed in 2000, it includes the new Hayden Planetarium, the original of which was opened in 1935 and closed in 1997. Neil deGrasse Tyson is its first and, to date, only director.

Stellarium (software)

Stellarium is an open-source free-software planetarium, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2, available for Linux, Windows, and macOS. A port Stellarium called Stellarium Mobile is available for Android, iOS, and Symbian as a paid version, being developed by Noctua Software. All versions use OpenGL to render a realistic projection of the night sky in real time.Stellarium was created by the French programmer Fabien Chéreau, who launched the project in the summer of 2001 (2001). Currently, Stellarium is being maintained and developed by Alexander Wolf, Georg Zotti, Marcos Cardinot, Guillaume Chéreau, Bogdan Marinov, Timothy Reaves, Ferdinand Majerech, and Jörg Müller. A number of other developers have contributed to the development of Stellarium, especially Robert Spearman, Johannes Gajdosik, Matthew Gates, Nigel Kerr, and Johan Meuris, the latter of whom is responsible for the artwork.Stellarium was featured on SourceForge in May 2006 as Project of the Month.

Teen Murti Bhavan

The Teen Murti Bhavan (Teen Murti House) is the former residence in New Delhi, India of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who moved there after Mahatma Gandhi died. He stayed there for 16 years until his own death on 27 May 1964. It was designed by Robert Tor Russell, the British architect of Connaught Place and of the Eastern and Western Courts on Janpath during the British Raj. Teen Murti Bhavan was built in 1930 as part of the new imperial capital of India, New Delhi as the residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Indian Army.Today, Teen Murti houses various institutions including the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), which runs under the Indian Ministry of Culture, and has Dr. Karan Singh as the chairman of its executive council. The complex also houses the offices of the 'Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund', established in 1964 under the chairmanship of Dr S. Radhakrishnan, then President of India. Teen Murti Bhavan also contains a number of mementos from various nations including England, Nepal, Somalia, China, etc. Each memento represents a notable resource of each nation. The foundation also awards the 'Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fellowship', established in 1968.Also contained within the complex are the ‘Centre for Contemporary Studies’ and the Nehru Planetarium which opened in 1984.

Tycho Brahe Planetarium

The Tycho Brahe Planetarium is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the southern end of Skt. Jørgens Sø. It is named after astronomer Tycho Brahe. It was designed by MAA Knud Munk and opened on November 1, 1989.The planetarium is built where the theater Saltlageret was previously located. The foundation stone was placed on February 22, 1988, and the planetarium opened on November 1, 1989. The financial basis for building the planetarium was a 50,000,000 DKK donation by Bodil and Helge Petersen to the Urania foundation, which administered the construction of the planetarium.

In the Dome Theatre there are shows every day. Most are narrated to Danish, but it is possible to have English narration in headphones. During summertime there are normally a few shows in English every day.

University of Minnesota Duluth

The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) is a public university in Duluth, Minnesota. It is part of the University of Minnesota system and offers 15 bachelor's degrees in 84 majors, graduate programs in 26 different fields, and a two-year program at the School of Medicine and a four-year College of Pharmacy program.

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