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Planetariums

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Majir
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« on: April 25, 2011, 01:23:26 pm »

Planetarium

A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation. A dominant feature of most planetariums 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 provide an accurate relative motion of the sky. Typical systems can be set to display the sky at any point in time, past or present, and often to show the night sky as it would appear from any point of latitude on Earth.

The plural of planetarium can be either planetariums or planetaria.
The term planetarium is sometimes used generically to describe other devices which illustrate the solar system, such as a computer simulation or an orrery.
The term planetarian is used to describe a member of the professional staff of a planetarium.
Planetarium software refers to a software application that renders a three dimensional image of the sky onto a two dimensional computer screen.
Planetariums have become well-nigh ubiquitous, with some privately owned. A rough estimate is that in the United States there is one planetarium per 100,000 population, ranging in size from the Hayden Planetarium's 20-meter dome seating 430 people, to three-meter inflatable portable domes where children sit on the floor. Such portable planetariums serve education programs outside of the permanent installations of museums and science centers.

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Majir
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 01:24:04 pm »



Inside a planetarium projection hall.
(Belgrade Planetarium, Serbia)
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Majir
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 01:24:39 pm »



Inside the same hall during projection.
(Belgrade Planetarium, Serbia)
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Majir
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 01:25:19 pm »

Early

Archimedes is attributed with possessing 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. Campanus of Novara (1220–1296) described a planetary equatorium in his Theorica Planetarum, and included instructions on how to build one. 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 planetariums 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 livingroom of his house. It took Eisinga seven years to build his planetarium, which was completed in 1781.

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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2011, 01:25:33 pm »

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 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.[1]

Before World War II nearly all planetariums were built by Zeiss, the only notable exceptions being one built by two brothers named Korkosz in Springfield, Massachusetts, and another for the Rosicrucian AMORC order in San Jose, California.

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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2011, 01:26:15 pm »



The Franeker planetarium
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 01:26:48 pm »



The Mark I projector installed in the Deutsches Museum in 1923 was the world's first planetarium projector.
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 01:27:13 pm »

After WWII

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 planetariums for Zeiss, Walther Bauersfeld, remained in Jena until his death in 1959.

The West German firm resumed making large planetariums in 1954, and the East German firm started making small planetariums 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 planetariums 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 planetariums in U.S. high schools.

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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2011, 01:27:26 pm »

Armand Spitz recognized that there was a viable market for small inexpensive planetariums. His first model, the Spitz A, was designed to project stars from a dodecahedron, thus reducing machining expenses in creating a globe. 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.

 
A Goto E-5 projector.Japan entered the
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 01:27:41 pm »

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.

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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2011, 01:27:57 pm »

During the 1970s, the OmniMax movie system (now known as IMAX Dome) was conceived to operate on planetarium screens. More recently, some planetariums 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.

StarLab in Massachusetts offered the first easily portable planetarium in 1977 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.

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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2011, 01:28:41 pm »



The M.P. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, India (est. 1962) was the first planetarium in Asia
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 01:29:17 pm »



Early Spitz star projector
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 01:30:04 pm »



A Goto E-5 projector.
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2011, 01:30:29 pm »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetarium
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