GLPA Conference Proceedings: 2004

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PDF:  2004-proceedings.pdf  (6.3 MB)

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Invited Talks

INTO THE DARK: THE LONG-TERM FATE OF OUR DYING UNIVERSE
Dr. Fred C. Adams
Abstract: This talk outlines the far future of the universe. The discussion starts in the distant past, with the big bang, and describes the main events that lead up to the present epoch. The talk then describes a host of physical processes that play out over time scales that vastly exceed the current age of the universe.

ASTRONOMY UPDATE 2004
James B. Kaler
Abstract: The year again saw the reversals of astronomical life, from the crash of Genesis to the success of the Spitzer Space Telescope, with the worries about Hubble in between. From an amazing array of instruments and computers we saw spectacular solar flares, viewed a comet close-up, probed further into the Kuiper Belt, found new exo-planets and brown dwarfs, watched galaxies merge and being stripped of matter, and extended our view of infant galaxies nearly to the time of the Big Bang itself.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE DOME: 2004 ARMAND N. SPITZ LECTURE
April Whitt
Abstract: Planetarians face challenges and opportunities. Our attitudes make all the difference. With the support we have from each other, and from our own experiences, we can offer our audiences the entire known universe, and share the beauty and wonder of astronomy. As George Bernard Shaw put it, “Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

Contributed Papers

REFURBISHING THE COWLEY HALL OBSERVING PLATFORM
Robert Allen
Abstract: Funding was obtained in 2003 to permanently place several telescope mounts on the platform and cover them with weatherproof material. In addition, a Pier-Tech pier was purchased for use with a Meade 12-inch LX-200 SCT telescope.

ROMANCING THE STARS
Robert J. Bonadurer
Abstract: Romancing the Stars is a live show that takes a fun, light-hearted tour of the universe. It works best for adult couples. Its uniqueness means it takes lots of practice to find the right connection with the audience. Yes, the show is also educational.

A WEEK IN THE NORTH OF ITALY
Dayle L. Brown
Abstract: A year ago this month I spent a wonderful week in Brescia with my husband, David. I had the priveledge of working with Loris Ramponi, his colleagues, and the wonderful children of Brescia and Lumezzane. During our week, I taught fourteen classes and gave four presentations/workshops at four sites.

CONQUERING VENUS IN TRANSIT
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: “Venus, vidi, vici,” or something like that. Events preceding June 8th prepare for the 2004 transit of Venus. Featured snippets include an art exhibit, teacher workshops, liaisons with troops deployed overseas, musical performances, community talks, an exhibit of artifacts, two busy websites, and a planetarium program. Local events in Mishawaka, IN, embraced the transit with overnight telescope viewing, live webcasts, media coverage, solar-filtered and H-alpha telescopes, Transit of Venus Sunrise Ale, and community spirit. See www.transitofvenus.org for images and resources.

COMPANION TO NIGHT: CREATING A CROSS-CULTURAL PLANETARIUM SHOW
Stephen R. Case
Abstract: Working in conjunction with Olivet Nazarene University’s English faculty, I have written and produced a planetarium show focusing on astronomy-related poetry. It is hoped that this show will be a cross-curricular tool, serving the dual function of increasing literary appreciation in students of science and providing insights into the astronomy behind the poems for English and literature students. This paper documents the process of show production from conception to its on-campus premier.

ROCKS FROM THE SKY — A PERSONAL STORY
Larry A. Ciupik
Abstract: In March 2003, the south suburbs of Chicago were hit by fragments of a meteoroid the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. This paper presents eyewitness accounts of this amazing event.

HYPER-INTERACTIVE TEACHING TECHNOLOGY AT THE ABRAMS PLANETARIUM
John French
Abstract: A new student response system is being used in the planetarium for astronomy lab classes at Michigan State University. The system is known as “Hyper-Interactive Teaching Technology” or “H-ITT”.

TRANSIT OF VENUS: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT
John Hare
Abstract: Transit of Venus, A Personal Account chronicles the June 8, 2004 Transit as experienced by John Hare during a trip to the UK. The paper contains historical and anecdotal information about London and Greenwich to set things into proper perspective.

SOLAR SYSTEM SIMULATOR PRO SOFTWARE
Chris Janssen
Abstract: Developed in Japan and demonstrated in Spain this summer at IPS. I will demonstrate how truly great the software is by sharing a few demos and complete lab classes. The author wants to have his software become a free sharing tool among planetarians and has written the software to share demo scripts on the web.

BEATING POPULAR STELLAR DEATH MISCONCEPTIONS
Chris Janssen
Abstract: Do you know the star size mass limits that make a dead star become a neutron star or a black hole? I thought I did as well. Professors at the Chicago High Energy Astrophysics short course have another answer to correct this well known misconception documented in popular videos and texts.

STELLAR FUN AT STELLAFANE
Kelly Jons
Abstract: Since 1926, the annual Stellafane Convention has been the premier gathering of amateur telescope makers in the United States. I have attended several Stellafane Conventions since 1996. Here’s what to expect when visiting this “Shrine of the Stars.”

IMPLEMENTING LEFT-MIDDLE-RIGHT VIDEO SCREENS
Ronald Kaitchuck
Abstract: As support for slides, slide projectors and many photographic films disappears, we have turned toward video technology. The Ball State University Planetarium now has left-middle-right video screens that are largely replace the slide projectors screens. These video screens offer new creative options and more visually interesting planetarium presentations.

A PLANETARIUM AND SCIENCE CENTER FOR EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Shawn Laatsch
Abstract: Greenville, North Carolina is about eighty miles east of Raleigh. This growing community of 65,000 currently is planning on creating a planetarium and science center to serve the eastern part of the state. The science center is in its planning stages and is expected to have a planetarium with a traditional optical-mechanical star projector and full dome video capabilities. In this paper I will discuss the history and current progress of this project.

LANDING ON MARS—A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
Rob Landis
Abstract: Earlier this year, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory landed two rovers on Mars. MER-A (Spirit) continues deeper in the Columbia Hills, while MER-B (Opportunity) will soon emerge from Endurance Crater and begin a great trek south. The author presents a personal overview of the MER mission.

GODZILLA GEOMETRY A.K.A. THE COSMIC DISTANCE LADDER
Randall H. Landsberg
Abstract: The distance ladder is a fundamental tool of astronomy and yet still very abstract. The activity described uses a digital camera to empirically determine the relationship of relative size to distance and then extends this concept to astrophysical objects accessible via the SDSS Skyserver. See:
http://cfcp.uchicago.edu/education/explorers/2003summer-YERKES/#day

“BUILDING CASTILLO DEL CIELO”
Gary Lazich
Abstract: This paper/presentation reveals the “foundations” of an award-winning planetarium feature, the obstacles that nearly halted its “construction,” and the “rules of defensive driving” the author learned to heed.

THE PLANETARIUM ON THE QUEEN MARY 2
Matthew Linke
Abstract: Exhibit Museum Planetarium Director Matthew Linke spent nine days on the Queen Mary 2 this past August as a guest planetarium lecturer. This paper is a summary of the QM2 Planetarium and Matt's experience while aboard ship, and might help answer some of the questions people have about this, the first permanent planetarium at sea.

A COMMUNITY CELEBRATES THE TRANSIT OF VENUS
Peggy Motes
Abstract: Muncie, Indiana celebrated the Transit of Venus with an outdoor concert, star party, planetarium program, and transit images posted at the NASA Goddard website.

RESEARCH AT THE WIYN 0.9M TELESCOPE AT KPNO
Dr. Randy W. Olson
Abstract: In the past few years the background experience of the planetarium student lecturers at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point has changed dramatically. Today, most of our lecturers have had a chance to participate in research experiences at the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

HUBBLE DOES IMAX
Bryan Preston
Abstract: A brief introduction to and screening of Hubble: Galaxies Across Space & Time.

NEWS FROM HUBBLE
Bryan Preston
Abstract: A brief discussion of the latest science and news from Hubble. Will also discuss several of our research efforts.

MEASURING STELLAR PARALLAX AND STELLAR DIAMETER UNDER A PLANETARIUM SKY
Sheldon Schafer
Abstract: In an interactive format, the planetarium can be used to demonstrate fundamental astronomical concepts based on actual observations made in the dome. This paper will outline two such activities.

LESSONS IN VIDEO EDITING
Mary Schindewolf
Abstract: This summer I had the opportunity to update and revise our fifth grade planetarium video. The process was for more complicated than I expected…

PLANETARIUM EDUCATION: REVIEW OF RESEARCH
Brock C. Schroeder
Abstract: In preparation for a doctoral dissertation, in this paper I will present my literature review of astronomy education work accomplished in which the planetarium was utilized. Feedback and guidance will be sought to verify that complete coverage of the literature has been accomplished and focus of research will be constructive for the field of astronomy education.

TREASURE TROVE OF IPS PUBLICATIONS
Dale W. Smith & Shawn Laatsch
Abstract: IPS provides a wide variety of printed and electronic publications to its members. We will describe these educational resources.

SPECTACLE: A MODEL FOR UNDERSTANDING NEW PLANETARIUMS
Jim Sweitzer, Ph.D.
Abstract: Predicting future attendance is critically important to organizations contemplating major new offerings or expensive renovations. The challenge is that most situations are unique and there are little data to inform decision makers. To satisfy the need for answers, I have developed a quantitative model that plots the patterns in attendance one might expect from an innovative new offering. Called SPECTACLE, this model can be used to illustrate the effects of the many factors at play during the early months and years of a new planetarium. It demonstrates, for example, the importance of audience base, marketing, innovation, and quality. Since SPECTACLE is quantitative, it can make financial predictions too.

SUMMER WORKSHOPS/RESOURCES/FUN STUFF IN ASTRONOMY
Betty Wasiluk
Abstract: Information will be given about useful resources for a planetarium staff member from Gettysburg College, Tufts University, and Penn State.

THE ADLER PLANETARIUM CELEBRATES ITS 75TH ANNIVERSARY
Mark Webb
Abstract: On May 12, 2005, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum will begin its 75th year of operation. To commemorate this occasion the Adler is planning a yearlong celebration and the planetarium community is invited to participate in the festivities.

ASTRONOMICAL OUTREACH IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY
David Weinrich
Abstract: Many of our colleagues in the developing world would welcome collaborative ventures with planetarians from industrialized nations. This paper will be an account of my sabbatical in Sri Lanka and I hope an encouragement for those who would like to pursue similar ventures.

OUT-OF-DOME EXPERIENCES
Gene Zajac
Abstract: The value of leaving the planetarium facility should not be overlooked. Groups can be encountered that cannot come to the planetarium. These field trips can be used to develop ideas and concepts in a very hands-on type of experience. Three experiences are being presented.

Posters

GALAXY: HANDS-ON SPACE CUBE FOR INTERACTIVE LEARNING
Cheri Adams
Abstract: Students often have a difficult time conceptualizing the depth of space. This model of the 43 closest galaxies (with their dwarf companions) to the Milky Way give students a better understanding of the arrangement of these objects.

ASTRONOMY CAMP FOR KIDS
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: AstroCamp immerses kids in stargazing and telescope observing at YMCA Camp Eberhart in Three Rivers, Michigan. By day the kids make star finders, practice using telescopes, marvel under a portable planetarium, build water rockets, track sunspots, and seek astronomical treasures on a scavenger hunt. By night they direct a dozen 8-inch telescopes skyward, find deep sky objects, identify stars and constellations, and earn awards. Guest astronomy educators are welcome to join the fun.

IMAGES OF VENUS IN TRANSIT
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: A collection of images celebrates the 2004 transit of Venus, including views from solar observatories, spacecraft, and other Great Lakes gatherings. See http://www.transitofvenus.org/images.htm for multiple perspectives on this event.

THE ANALEMMA PROJECT
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: By marking the sub-solar point on a fixed globe through 12 months, you can trace out the Sun’s figure-eight-shaped analemma—a cheap, easy, long-term observation project. See http://analyzer.depaul.edu/paperplate/analemma.htm for details and images.

IPS UPDATE 2004
Abstract: The International Planetarium Society (IPS) is at an organizational crossroad as it considers major restructuring to address challenges of the evolving planetarium community. Meanwhile, expanding IPS services continue to benefit members.

PASS IT ON
Susan Reynolds Button
Abstract: One mission of the International Planetarium Society (IPS) and the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) is to provide resources that represent our collective creative imaginations and experiences. This enables planetarians to make their proven educational resources available to other facilities. This paper will define how directors of small and portable planetariums can invest a little time in a simple and effective way to provide a wonderful set of materials as our contribution to this important mission. Colleagues helped us in the past, now it is time for us to “pass it on!”

BUILD YOUR OWN INTERACTIVE SPACE EXHIBITS
Mitch Luman
Abstract: This poster will provide details on how to construct two small space-related exhibits. The exhibits explore two aspects of the science of space flight. A PLATO Grant was used by the Koch Planetarium in Evansville, Indiana to create two tested, easily reproduced exhibits. These exhibits can be fabricated at a cost of under $800. Plans for the exhibits are available free to GLPA members.
PROPS IN THE DOME
Carrie Zaitz
Abstract: A look at ways to bring “props” into the planetarium experience, especially for the pre-school set.

Workshops

MAKING LANGUAGE ARTS COME ALIVE IN THE PLANETARIUM
Jeanne Bishop
Abstract: The planetarium promotes multidiscipline learning. We usually think of planetarium lessons as science, but topics that are within other disciplines also are possible. Literature is an essential part of school learning, and the planetarium can assist in making literature “come alive” for students. A number of children’s books either center on the sky or contain many references to the sky. For high school and college, there are many references to the sky in Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Homer. In this workshop we will use some methods and sources I have adopted to bring literature to life for different grade levels. Workshop participants will read poems and excerpts from longer pieces of literature while the planetarium and a shadow projector provide effects.

OUR NEIGHBOR, THE MOON
Dayle L. Brown
Abstract: Participants will observe, predict, and model the phases of the Moon as it revolves around our planet through a starry sky. In addition, participants will model eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

CELESTIAL MOTIONS
Susan Reynolds Button
Abstract: During this workshop the planetarium will be used as a laboratory and participants will experience a lesson that can be used with 14 year-old students and older. The lesson involves locating and recording apparent celestial motion of four easily identifiable stars at “home” latitude and at selected other latitudes. With the information collected, students can then calculate the average hourly apparent motion and as well as the latitude of the observer. Discussion will include how knowledge of apparent celestial motion is reflected and passed on in the sky stories of various cultures.

MESSENGER TO MERCURY
April Whitt
Abstract: In this hands-on workshop, participants will discuss the MESSENGER space craft mission to the planet Mercury, survey the teacher materials developed to accompany the mission, and explore some experiments and demonstrations for use in their own domes. Each participant will receive a packet of lesson plans and resources.