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Thread: Planetarium Star Projectors

  1. #511
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnYayas View Post
    You may be right but the new digital projectors do more than just project dots on the ceiling and can simulate stars from any point of view (ie the opposite end of the galaxy) whereas the old projectors are pretty limited in that regard. So, although the dots may not look as bright or sharp, the rest of what the new systems do (which includes full dome video projection) blows the old star casters out of the water. I've seen the difference at the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill and I could tell there were pros and cons with the new system.
    My objection was to the phrase "run circles around the old technology." The "old" technology does exactly what it's designed to do, and does that part better than any fulldome system. The limitations of fulldome are your imagination, your skill, your budget, and that it can't do the night sky remotely as well as the "old technology". I don't have a problem with anyone who wants to go fulldome rather than hybrid, I just have a problem when they pretend they're not settling for a 3rd rate starfield. You can have the best of both worlds, but surprise! The best is expensive.
    "There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." Pablo Picasso

  2. #512
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    I am relieved that there are folks like Spitz around who save these wonderful instruments. I have a small planetarium a few miles from me with a relatively poor contrast ratio projector, which is all the humble county museum can afford.

    I certainly miss the big beasts like the ones I remember seeing as a kid, but a planetarium with a projector is better than no planetarium at all. On the bright side, some of the projector content is a lot of fun. My daughter and I saw one called "To Space and Back" yesterday which had some great 3D effects of looking up at 1950s to modern missiles/rockets, Hubble, in addition to all the typical views of the cosmos. I don't know what these shows cost, but the local museum made them sound pretty expensive as they had individual corporate sponsors for each of their various shows.

    Ideally, we'd have both the old star projectors co-located with the new projectors until the new technology could truly replace the bright and accurate star fields, but I'll still take the new ones over nothing at all.

    -David
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

  3. #513
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    The old technology does indeed do what it does best and that is show the night sky how it should be seen. Most people today have never seen a true 6th magnitude sky and are blown away by it. While it is interesting to zoom to anywhere in the cosmos in seconds it is more of a movie version then any kind or reality. Entertainment at its finest but more or less just that, entertainment. With a classic projector the audience can see a very close representation of the night sky and perhaps recognize things in the real night sky when the get a chance to see it. I've had a little over 200 people see my shows since I became viable around the ides of June and the response has been surprisingly positive. Some have been to the Phoenix planetarium and much preferred the simple presentation that I gave over the zoom to Pluto and back that Phoenix offered. Others commented that they couldn't wait to get out at night and try and find the constellations and planets that I had pointed out. I must admit that I was surprised at this response as I thought that the fancy shows downtown would generate more appeal.

    Everything has its place but I'm really glad to see that the old style technology is still enjoyed and even preferred by some. Now to work on this month show.

  4. #514
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    Ah, but at their best they're not "just entertainment". They're inspirational. The modern planetarium was invented by Walther Bauersfeld at Zeiss because the Zeiss Foundation has a commitment to "Advancing natural and mathematical science in research and teaching." One of the best things you can do to advance teaching is to inspire the prospective student.

    Quote Originally Posted by m2b View Post
    The old technology does indeed do what it does best and that is show the night sky how it should be seen. Most people today have never seen a true 6th magnitude sky and are blown away by it. While it is interesting to zoom to anywhere in the cosmos in seconds it is more of a movie version then any kind or reality. Entertainment at its finest but more or less just that, entertainment. With a classic projector the audience can see a very close representation of the night sky and perhaps recognize things in the real night sky when the get a chance to see it. I've had a little over 200 people see my shows since I became viable around the ides of June and the response has been surprisingly positive. Some have been to the Phoenix planetarium and much preferred the simple presentation that I gave over the zoom to Pluto and back that Phoenix offered. Others commented that they couldn't wait to get out at night and try and find the constellations and planets that I had pointed out. I must admit that I was surprised at this response as I thought that the fancy shows downtown would generate more appeal.

    Everything has its place but I'm really glad to see that the old style technology is still enjoyed and even preferred by some. Now to work on this month show.
    "There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." Pablo Picasso

  5. #515
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    planetarium (noun):

    1. an apparatus or model representing the planetary system.


    2. a device that produces a representation of the heavens by the use of a number of moving projectors.


    3. the building or room in which such a device is housed.


    *Taken from Dictionary.com

    What's the fuss? These theaters that remove the star projector and replace it with a video projector are no longer planetariums. They are just movie theaters.... I have visited a few planetariums that upgraded to newer star projectors and use them in conjunction *with* full dome video.

  6. #516
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserist View Post
    Ah, but at their best they're not "just entertainment". They're inspirational. The modern planetarium was invented by Walther Bauersfeld at Zeiss because the Zeiss Foundation has a commitment to "Advancing natural and mathematical science in research and teaching." One of the best things you can do to advance teaching is to inspire the prospective student.
    The interesting thing about any kind of full dome experience is its impact. An OMNIMAX film much like a full-dome presentation is full of impact. But then it's over and like a lot of movies, soon forgotten. Usually in this day of fast cutting, a scene does not remain on screen long enough for an audience member to absorb let alone enjoy. (I won't get into my pet peeve of the shaky camera right now.) That sharp pristine image of the night sky is something that I think people need and they need the time to study it.

    There is something awe inspiring about a dark night sky. I must admit that I do take some license and linger about a 3rd magnitude sky for a while (to make sure all eyes are dark adapted) before I plunge them into the 6th magnitude sky. That gasp of breath from the group does my ego some good as well. Perhaps I am a bit of a showman after all as I really enjoy delivering a show that viewers enjoy. I am reminded of an old English proverb, "A joy shared is a joy doubled", and I certainly enjoy sharing.

    Not that I am against new technology. I plan on adding a simple kind of full dome with simple mirror projection. Probably to reproduce time laps cloud movements on the dome. The cost of any pre-produced shows are way out of my budget.

    I also need to get back to work on repairing a small simple laser projector. Work that was put on hold as my dome project took all of my time and funds. Again I need to thank the massive outpouring of help in getting this device back up and running. Now that I have some more time I will very probably be back asking for even more help as I am a total novice with this laser thing.

    Any kind of show from any kind of technology can be good or bad depending on how it is presented. I know I'm probably bad but folks keep coming back for more. They say they like the shows so who am I to argue. If they enjoy, then they probably learn, and that's not a bad thing.

  7. #517
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    The beginnings of a homebrew analog star projector control box, one of two identical units I am building in my kitchen because that's the only place that has not yet been assimilated. It should run the primary axis movements for two of these star machines in here, a Minolta Series IIB and GOTO/Viewlex MarkIIA. I still have the original control systems but no schematics for them and the 1970's era electronics are somewhat sketchy so for the time being I am primarily interested in achieving some basic level of control and resorting to brute force. The variacs are Superior Powerstat 10B's, with bridge rectifiers to convert AC to DC and some filter capacitors.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_4375.jpg  


  8. #518
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    Last edited by henryrobinson; 10-08-2014 at 21:57.

  9. #519
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    Welcome to Photonlexicon, and thanks. They are a challenge to fetch, but well worth it!
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  10. #520
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpitzSTP View Post
    Welcome to Photonlexicon, and thanks. They are a challenge to fetch, but well worth it!
    This one is next. road trip!
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