GLPA Conference Proceedings: 2005

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Invited Talks

THE POWER OF THE PLANETARIUM THEATER
40th Anniversary Conference Founders Lecture
Von Del Chamberlain
Abstract: A founding member of GLPA expresses appreciation for what GLPA members have accomplished in the four decades of the associations existence and relates an incident involved in the origin of GLPA. He expresses the belief that the planetarium is a medium with great learning power and that no medium has ever been created with greater power to inspire the intellect. The lecture is focused on the power of words and images and advises that we should use thoughtful discretion in both the language and images we employ under our star-domes.

THE MENTORING OF RED
2005 Armand N. Spitz Lecture
David L. DeBruyn
Abstract: Most of us can recall individuals and circumstances that contributed significantly to our personal and/or professional growth. Those special individuals influence the life paths of those they touch, often without realizing it. The case is made that planetarium specialists, by the unique nature of what they do-bringing the universe indoors and interpreting it-are mentors: to the public they stimulate, to students they teach, and particularly to younger associates they work with over the years.

ASTRONOMY UPDATE 2005
James B. Kaler
Abstract: Though Mars is always in the news, it was nearly eclipsed this year by a satellite, Saturn's Titan, whose surface was finally revealed, and by a new "planet" larger than Pluto that inhabits the outer extension of the increasingly populous Kuiper Belt. Much farther away we studied what appears to be kuiper belts or asteroid zones surrounding other stars, and more stars with orbiting planets, the low- mass record for which is a mere nine Earth-masses. From a greater distance astronomers noted a powerful blast from a "soft gamma ray repeater," created a new map of the Galaxy's spiral arms, saw bunches of dwarf galaxies around us, and watched the collisions of whole clusters of galaxies.

BLUE PLANETS TO BLACK HOLES
Dr. Anne Kinney
Abstract: Astronomers are now building detection equipment, and even planning space missions, designed to detect earth-like planets suspected to be orbiting distant stars. Latest efforts in the exciting area of research will be described. Opposite in every way from such blue planets are black holes. These invisible cosmic abysses profoundly influence objects in their vicinity with their powerful gravity. Current progress in understanding black holes and space missions planned to learn more about them will be presented.

AN EARLY HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL PROJECTION PLANETARIUM AND THE GREAT LAKES PLANETARIUM ASSOCIATION
40th Anniversary Conference Founders Lecture
Dennis W. Sunal
Abstract: Many competing ideas and functions have been proposed and put into practice during the development of the projection planetarium in the United States. One idea has been that of the planetarium as an "educational tool." This label has been consistently stated, even though the role of the planetarium in education has changed greatly. The potential use of the planetarium as an educational tool in elementary and secondary education appears to have had a slow and difficult evolution. A study of this evolution along with major competing attitudes and determining factors in society, as evidenced in the literature, can provide insight into the change process involving educational innovations and, specifically, the change process involving the planetarium as an innovation in the American educational system.

Contributed Papers

FIND YOUR SUPPORTERS!
Garry F. Beckstrom
Abstract: Find or create an event that will get people excited about your planetarium. People who are excited about what you do are most likely to be the ones who will be there for your facility when funding or other support is necessary. The staff of the Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center has created an annual Fourth of July fireworks event/fundraiser that has been extremely successful.

WHAT DO PLANETARIUM VISITORS EXPECT?
Garry F. Beckstrom
Abstract: Advances in technology, especially in the last 30 years, have driven the evolution of the planetarium from a place to "demonstrate" a remarkable machine, to a multi-image, immersive, space theater-type show environment. But, what do public and school group visitors actually expect when visiting a planetarium? After almost 30 years of operating planetariums, I'll share some observations.

RICHARD H. EMMONS: SMALL PLANETARIUM INNOVATOR
(May 29, 1919-June 29, 2005)
Jeanne E. Bishop
Abstract: My father, Richard Emmons, gave the Armand Spitz lecture for GLPA in Cleveland about 10 years ago. On June 29 this year, he died of cancer. In this presentation I will share the story of my father's design and use of small planetariums in the 1950s, a time when A- and A-2 Spitz planetariums were starting to be sold. I am grateful to David Gill, a close friend of my father's and a member of the Wilderness Center Astronomy Club, for scanning and digitizing many pictures from my father's files. I will use 50 of the photographs in an all-photograph PowerPoint portrayal of a very special life focusing on astronomy education and research. Some additional details, beyond the ten-minute paper limit, will be included in the Proceedings.
Editor's note: Reprinted with permission and with slight modifications from the Planetarian vol. 34, n. 4, December 2005.

RUMPLESTILTSKIN'S STARRY SECRET
Robert Bonadurer
Abstract: Rumplestiltskin can't really make gold. So, where does this precious element come from? In fact, where do all the elements of the periodic table come from? Through a Chandra X-Ray EPO grant, this film will reveal how we discovered the source of all the chemical building blocks we see all around us, and in us.

LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT
Dayle L. Brown
Abstract: "Life After Retirement"... is incredibly busy and satisfying. I now have the time to pursue several lifelong ambitions, including planetarium education (with children and adults), entering the world of art, and writing/illustrating children's books.

COLOR CCD PHOTOGRAPHY FROM DOWNTOWN CHICAGO
Larry A. Ciupik
Abstract: This paper presents experiments using our 20-inch telescope and CCD camera located in downtown Chicago to produce color photos from sequences of black and white images taken through R, G, and B filters.

A NEW PLANETARIUM IN WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN
David A. DeRemer
Abstract: This paper describes the planning, construction and completion of a new 40 foot diameter, 90 seat planetarium located in Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

ASTRONOMY/ART/MUSIC + MUSEUM WOMEN'S COUNCILS = SURPRISE HIT
Stephen S. Fentress
Abstract: A fairly simple talk on the theme of connections between art, music, and astronomy was surprisingly successful with a meeting of Women's Councils of three local museums and has been requested twice more since. The material in the talk came from sources well-known to planetarians such as Sky & Telescope articles. Does this tell us something about possibilities with the market of mature lifelong learners? If you can do a planetarium show you could do a version of this talk, adapted for your locality. I offer my outline and invite you to steal whatever ideas may be useful.

HOW TO MAKE AN ARROW POINTER
John French
Abstract: This paper shows how to make a pointer that projects an arrow on the planetarium dome, using an LED, some plumbing parts, an old lens and a few simple tools. Pictures of this pointer can be seen at: http://www.pa.msu.edu/people/frenchj/pointerglpa2005/ along with images of arrows for downloading.

FORGOTTEN CONSTELLATIONS OF THE NORTHERN SKIES
Shane Horvatin
Abstract: Most everyone has heard of Ursa Major and Orion, but do you know where to locate Globus Aerostaticus or Felis? This presentation will reintroduce some of the lost and forgotten constellations of the past.

SCIENCE THAT SUPPORTS LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
Dr. David W. Hurd
Abstract: Using simple text about the moon and symbol supports, a new book fosters language development and literacy within the context of science learning. It will be suggested that this book, when coupled with "science notebooks" and inquiry based learning, can improve students' language abilities as well as increase their science literacy. The wider application suggests that some of the methods incorporated in this presentation are applicable in all areas of science education at all levels.

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS REVISITED
Art Klinger
Abstract: The PHM Planetarium Air/Space Museum for the third time in its 25-year history was suggested as a budget cut by another new Superintendent. This could easily happen to any planetarium regardless of whether it's in a public school setting or a museum setting. This paper explains the strategies used to avoid the budget axe.

THE SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATION OF CURRENT RESEARCH INTO THE PLANETARIUM: EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF A COSMOLOGY SHORT COURSE
Randall H. Landsberg
Abstract: In September 2003 the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (KICP) offered a historic, intensive, three-day short course on cosmology for planetarium staff, "Origin of Structure in the Universe." Active research scientists taught this course with the goal of providing participants a basic foundation in cosmology and tools to bring the excitement of discovery back to the planetarium, and ultimately to the public.
See: http://kicp.uchicago.edu/education/courses/2003-origin/
A follow-up survey conducted one year after the course indicated that it had and will continue to have a profound impact. Participants reported that 3,245 students and 82,155 visitors Experienced Cosmology Content Directly Influenced by the 2003 Short Course within one year. Other positive indicators reported by respondents included:
* Direct Impact on Planetarium Shows (71%)
* Major Change in Public Programming or Teaching (42%)
* New Collaborations (31%)
* New Shows Created Based on Information Received in Short Course (29%)
*
This summative evaluation also revealed richer qualitative aspects of the course's impact including: attitudinal changes; that "Knowledge", "Experts" and "Resources/Visuals" were the considered the most valuable aspects of the course, and that the initial needs assessment of the planetarium community used to design the course had been invaluable.

THE VISUALIZATION OF ASTROPHYSICAL DATA: BRINGING TOGETHER SCIENCE, ART, & EDUCATION
Randall H. Landsberg
Abstract: In May 2005 the KICP hosted a workshop that capitalized on the confluence of technology, data, research, and outreach in the field of astrophysical scientific visualization. This workshop was attended by a broad spectrum of participants including researchers, educators, computer scientists, planetarium staff, and members of industry, all of whom reported it to be useful. The workshop also served as tool for collecting and showing off compelling, current astrophysical visuals - some of which formed the basis of a session titled "Visualizations from Recent Science Research" at INSAP V. For more details see: http://kicp.uchicago.edu/viz2005. This workshop and other "astro viz" efforts should be of great interest to the planetarium community as they may be a fertile source of materials for programming that have the added benefit of being closely connected to ongoing research.

"RULES OF ENGAGEMENT"
Gary Lazich
Abstract: This presentation elaborates on themes first explored ten years ago in Grand Rapids. Comparing planetariums to starships highlights the critical role of a story ("course") and the ways its unfolding can engage as well as immerse our audiences ("passengers").

A LARGE-SCALE EARTH-MOON-SUN DEMONSTRATOR
William O. Mitchell
Abstract: A large-scale, multi-purpose orrery readily captures student and planetarium visitor attention, and actively involves them in demonstrations. The system helps visitors visualize and understand the basic interactions of Earth, Moon and Sun-including eclipses, lunar phases, and the reason for Earth's seasons.

FILEMAKER FOR PLANETARIUM DATABASES
Brock Schroeder
Jesse Washkau
Abstract: Since 1996, we at Strickler Planetarium have used FileMaker software for scheduling, database management, and slide cataloging. This paper will outline our uses and applications.

TEACHING SCIENCE WITH MONEY
Dale W. Smith
Abstract: The world's currency features images of dozens of scientists and their legacy of discovery. I am developing a planetarium show that uses this resource to teach topics in astronomy, physics, and biology.

HUBBLE UPDATE
John M. Stoke
Abstract: A round-up of news and planetarium-related projects and opportunities from the Space Telescope Science Institute's office of public outreach.

PREVIEW OF PLANET VISIBILITY, 2006
Robert C. Victor
Abstract: This talk accompanied a Digistar planetarium demonstration of the visibility of planets at dusk and dawn through 2006. The only naked-eye pairing in a dark sky will be of Mars-Saturn in mid-June, when Mercury and Jupiter will also be seen. Also shown will be two low dawn pairings with Venus in August, and the most compact trio of 1980-2050, of Jupiter-Mercury-Mars in December 2006.

THE CLOSE JUPITER-SATURN CONJUNCTION OF 2020
Robert C. Victor
Abstract: At intervals of about 20 years, skywatchers have a chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn, the slowest-moving naked-eye planets, close together in the sky. At the next occasion, in the evening sky in December 2020, the two planets will appear closer together than at any time between 1623 and 2080.

NOW WHAT DO THEY WANT?
Mark Webb
Abstract: In March and April of 2005 patrons were solicited for questions before and after planetarium shows. Here is what 618 visitors want to know.

THE PHOTON CONNECTION
David Weinrich
Abstract: During the past 15 years CCD cameras have become available at many of our institutions. Is there still a need for our visitors to look through a telescope? In this paper I will talk about the astronomy facilities at my university, how we conduct public viewing sessions, and why I feel there is still a place for visual observing.

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?
(A SCIENCE NIGHT OUT EVENT FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED STUDENTS)
April Whitt
Abstract: Fernbank Science Center worked with liaisons from DeKalb County to offer a Science Night Out at the planetarium. But this event was for visually impaired students and their families.

Posters

OUR SOLAR SYSTEM: A NEW WAY TO LOOK AT OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Susan Batson
Abstract: How do you incorporate new discoveries into lessons on the Solar System? This poster focuses on classifying and describing groups of objects-planets, asteroids, KBOs, even Oort Cloud objects-by properties, distance, and number.

"SPECIAL EVENTS" TO INCREASE INTEREST AND AWARENESS
Garry F. Beckstrom
Abstract: By having several "events" each year, a planetarium can target particular audiences, and also appear to always have something fresh and new going on. This keeps interest and awareness up in your area. The Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center hosts several such events each year. This poster paper highlights a number of them.

2005 IPS UPDATE
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: The International Planetarium Society (IPS) continues to advocate the interests of the planetarium community. Abbreviated 2005 updates on the poster address IPS Strategic Planning, the IPS Star Partners Fund, the Armand Spitz Planetarium Education Fund, the 2006 IPS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, the IPS Statement on the Ancient Age of the Earth and Universe, the 2005 IPS/Eugenides Scriptwriting Competition, and other relevant news.

NO STARFIELD, NO PLANETARIANS
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: Imagine a world with no starfield, with no planetarians. In the modern era, a diligent, ubiquitous power imposes its will on the realm of astronomy, keeping in check the language of centuries. Astronomy terms that have endured the ages are now routinely challenged by a tireless arbiter of legitimacy-namely, the software "spell check" feature on which we often rely.

PLANETARIUMS AS CONDUITS
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: The NASA Explorer Institutes (NEI) initiated a series of workshops and focus groups to identify strategies to implement effectively the NEI goals and objectives. In January 2005, The Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) jointly conducted a focus group entitled Planetariums as Conduits to NASA's Target Audience. The GLPA/GRC focus group results, which specified seven action items to the mutual benefit of NASA and planetariums, were incorporated into the larger NEI survey. NASA subsequently announced $1.2 million in internal funding opportunities for informal education programs.

WHAT'S REALLY SPECIAL ABOUT A PLANETARIUM?
Susan Reynolds Button
Abstract: Planetariums are special places for a variety of reasons for each person. What unique characteristics make the planetarium a special place for you? This paper will explore those characteristics and why we should be sensitive to them as we seek to fulfill our various missions.

WORKING WITH THE BLIND THROUGH THE PLANETARIUM
Keith Halstead
Abstract: This poster reflects the learning experience I have encountered about working with the visually impaired through my work with Dr. Hurd and the Edinboro Planetarium.

THE ASTRONOMY JEOPARDY GAME
Sean Peters
Abstract: The Jeopardy game has been a very popular television program for thirty years over the past four and a half decades. Its popularity has permeated into the school system to help students learn about a variety of subjects. Astronomy Jeopardy is used to help elementary school students learn about basic astronomy while playing a fun game.

A REMOTE-CONTROLLED FAN FOR STARLAB DOMES
John Potts
Abstract: In this paper I describe how to modify a box fan for remote control. This aids in the entry and exit of personnel in the dome.

FUNDRAISING FOR THE ASTRONOMY/PLANETARIUM CLUB
Allison Pressman
Abstract: This poster will detail how using the Observer's Calendar produced by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has benefited our club. Also how we have used our profits.

Workshops

INTERACTIVE COSMOLOGY IDEAS
Jeanne E. Bishop
Abstract: Cosmology is at the forefront of current astronomical experimental research and theory. Each year astronomers learn more about early stages of our universe and the nature of matter and energy in it. With other GLPA planetarians, I attended outstanding cosmology and astrophysics workshops at the University of Chicago and Adler Planetarium in September of the last three years, 2003, 2004, and 2005. I will share some activities I have developed to communicate ideas important in cosmology, including false color, dark matter, and the expanding universe. The presentation will include references to Piagetian developmental levels.

SKYLORE
Dayle L. Brown
"Skylore" is a wonderful way to introduce children to the sky and to cultures of other people around the world. Participants will hear sky lore and try role-playing as they explore mythologies from other cultures.

GLPA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM (A LIGHT POLLUTION WORKSHOP)
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: The Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) addressed light pollution at its 40th Annual Conference with a workshop dedicated to sharing techniques for preserving the night sky. Workshop attendees addressed lighting issues from the perspectives of varied interest groups and stakeholders. Several of the workshop activities can be used by other dark sky advocates as they, too, spread the message. Details and images are at http://www.transitofvenus.org/workshop.htm

TECHNICAL AND MAINTENANCE ISSUES FOR SPITZ PROJECTORS
John Hare
Abstract: Helpful technical information about various Spitz projectors, and procedures that can and should be performed to keep them performing reliably and efficiently.