GLPA Conference Proceedings: 2006

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Invited Talks

ASTRONOMY UPDATE 2006
James B. Kaler
Abstract: This Update could be called the "year of the planets." The advances in our knowledge of Mars, Saturn, asteroid/comets, the Kuiper Belt, and of exoplanets orbiting other stars were so great that they could only be sampled. We might say the same for neutron stars and pulsars, as the more we look the less we seem to understand, the seeming "nutty" ones perhaps being the more common. And then there is Pluto...

ROAMING MARS: A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
Scott G. Lever
Abstract: A description of the Mars Exploration Rover mission by the Tactical Uplink Lead Engineer, including a description of the mission was designed and how it is operated, a report of some of the scientific results, and a gallery of its most spectacular images.
Editor's note: The text that follows is based on a transcription of the spoken talk. A PDF file of the talk can be found in the supplementary materials folder on this CD.

THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE AND THE RETURN OF EINSTEIN'S "BIGGEST BLUNDER"
Prof. Clem Pryke
Abstract: In recent years, cosmology has become a vibrant science with fresh data coming in thick and fast. Recent observations of the afterglow of the Big Bang and of exploding stars in distant galaxies have revealed that what Einstein once referred to as his biggest blunder is in fact real: completely empty space contains energy! In this lecture we will take a grand tour of the Universe and its history ending at the South Pole in the middle of the six-month Antarctic night.
Editor's note: The text that follows is based on a transcription of the spoken talk. An on-line version of a similar talk by the author can be found at http://find.uchicago.edu/~pryke/talks/20051101_leeds/.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE
2006 Armand N. Spitz Lecture
Gene Zajac
Abstract: Tycho Brahe was not sure he made a difference to the world. He wondered that as he lay dying. He did make a difference. Armand Spitz knew the planetarium had not reached its full potential. Many people used their talents to demonstrate the potential of the planetarium is expanding. Those contributors make a difference. There are people in our lives who help us to reach our full potential. We need to thank them and let them know they have not lived in vain. This is my journey honoring those who make a difference.

Contributed Papers

RELAXING UNDER THE STARS
David Batch
Abstract: Admit it. You've gotten drowsy during a planetarium presentation. Planetarium theaters are great places to relax, so why not use that to our advantage. This paper describes our experience offering relaxation sessions in our dome.

SEVEN STAR STORIES
Dayle L. Brown
Abstract: Everyone in the world shares the sky. No matter what differences there may be, all cultures told stories using the sky as a storyboard in the past. The values of the people were reflected in the stories they told. The sky close to the celestial equator was visible to every inhabited part of the world. Two prominent star groups were well known everywhere. They were the constellation Orion and the star cluster Pleiades. Let's share seven of the stories told down through the ages about them.

OUTREACH AT THE HORWITZ PLANETARIUM
David A. DeRemer
Gary E. Sampson
Abstract: As part of the Waukesha County Retzer Nature Center, the Charles Horwitz Planetarium has a unique ability to cooperate in a new variety of school and community events. These events include Apple Harvest Festival, Waukesha Winter Jan-Boree, Astronomy Day, Earth Day and combining Nature Center lessons with Planetarium fieldtrips. Other outreach activities include a "Friends of the Planetarium" group, school visits, and public skywatches.

TWO PLANETARIUM CONFERENCES PRIOR TO THE FOUNDING OF GLPA
John Hare
Abstract: GLPA was formed in the mid-1960s at a time when there was an explosion of new planetarium facilities in the north central region of the United States. Most of the US regional affiliate organizations and a few of the international affiliates including IPS were formed beginning from the 1960s into the early 70s. Other than a few undocumented gatherings, what meetings or conferences were held to address the needs and interests of the early planetarium community? This paper will focus on two such conferences held in the Great Lakes region. Detailed proceedings exist from each conference. Interesting highlights and personalities that would have influences for decades to come will be addressed in this look into the planetarium past.

THE SUN AND SOLAR OBSERVING
Geoff Holt
Abstract: Purchased with a PLATO Grant from NASA through DePaul's Space Science Center, our Coronado PST H-Alpha telescope is helping our students see the Sun in a new way. This paper explains how we make a quick transition from a planetarium program inside to solar observation outside.

PROJECT RESULTS FROM TWO PLATO GRANTS
Jeffrey L. Hunt
Abstract: The Waubonsie Planetarium received two NASA PLATO grants to produce astronomy content for the district's 5th grade students. The results are high-quality video productions that are used in the school district's classrooms to strengthen the planetarium's curriculum.

FREE DIGITAL PRODUCTION TOOLBOX
Chris Janssen
Abstract: Learn about and see demonstrated... open source (free) software that is powerful enough to perform critical production tasks including graphics, audio and 3-D rendering.

WORLDS WITHOUT END
Roy Kaelin
Abstract: A continuing lack of definitive guidelines for the classification of planets has engaged the astronomical community to confront the status of certain worlds in the Solar System. And, as extrasolar worlds are rapidly added to the list of known planetary objects, a systematic classification, unbiased toward cultural or traditional naming schemes, appears sorely needed and may prove useful for clarifying current controversies and organizing future discoveries.

TELESCOPES EVERYWHERE
Linda M. Krouse-Wright
Abstract: In 2002, the Noble Planetarium expanded its "in-house" programs to include a new outreach program, a program to build telescopes everywhere. Four years later, forty classes later, almost 500 telescopes later, and another year already scheduled, this program has proven itself surprisingly successful.

SHOOT YOUR MOUTH OFF!
Stephanie L. Parello
Abstract: Initiated at the 2005 MAPS Conference in Philadelphia, this fun Professional Development session offers multiple participants and spectators a chance to share individual styles and techniques, and steal-uhmmm...I mean appropriate the great lines, jokes, stories, etc. of others. A number of colleagues each deliver a ten-minute night sky talk-no slides or special effects-just a starry sky and a pointer.

THE NOTRE DAME DIGITAL VISUALIZATION THEATER
Philip J. Sakimoto
Terrence W. Rettig
Abstract: The University of Notre Dame's new Digital Visualization Theater is a 50-foot diameter, fully digital, domed theater. It is part of a new science education building, and it will be used primarily for undergraduate instruction in all of the sciences. The projection system consists of two cove-mounted Sony SXRD projectors driven by Sky-Skan's Digital Sky 2 software. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first domed theater in the universe to have SXRD projectors installed for permanent usage.

A NEW HIGH SCHOOL ASTRONOMY COURSE
Gary E. Sampson
Abstract: Investigating Astronomy (IA) is a new high school astronomy course that is under development through a National Science Foundation grant. As a member of the IA teacher development team, I will share some of the results of my work in pre-piloting and developing the IA materials.

BY THE NUMBERS-USING A BIN OF BALLS IN A SCALING ACTIVITY
Sheldon Schafer
Abstract: When considering the sizes and distances of planets in the solar system, one encounters numbers that have no connection to human experience. This paper will outline the key elements of a workshop presentation used to bring the solar system down to size, introducing a set of simple numbers and a "bin or tub of balls" to relate the size and distance of objects in the solar system.

SOUNDING OUT YOUR STORY
Dale W. Smith
Abstract: Though we think of the planetarium primarily as a visual medium, the cognitive thread of our recorded shows usually lies in the narration. If the narration tries to convey the science as story, then the narrator becomes a storyteller. In this paper, I describe some of the narrative techniques I have used in twenty years of scriptwriting. Many of these involve how the narration will sound as well as its style and content.

THEN AND NOW
THIRTY-ONE YEARS OF CHANGE IN PLANETARIA,
SMALL TELESCOPES, AND ASTRONOMY
A PERSONAL REMINICENCE
Mark S. Sonntag
Abstract: Stimulated by the author's research experience with a student in 2003, this paper is a personal reminiscence of the dramatic changes in planetarium and small telescope technologies over a career spanning 31 years.

HOW FREEWARE REVITALIZED PRODUCTION AT THE ROGER B. CHAFFEE PLANETARIUM
Daniel R. Tell
Abstract: Freeware, free software with open licenses, can provide useful tools to planetaria unable to afford full, commercial versions of various software packages, allowing it to breathe new life into an institution's productions, as at the Digistar II-powered Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. Featured is my adventure with Anim8or, a 3D modeler and renderer, and how it changed production at the Chaffee.

HOTTER THAN BLUE:
A HIGH ENERGY ASTRONOMY PROGRAM FOR PLANETARIUMS
April S. Whitt
Abstract: Fernbank Science Center and Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center collaborated on a planetarium program for high school, college, and public audiences. Written by and featuring NASA scientists, Hotter Than Blue traces the field of high energy astronomy from the early days of satellites designed to detect nuclear testing on Earth through next year's launch of the latest in gamma ray burst detectors.

A FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON
Ryan Wyatt
Abstract: The American Museum of Natural History, in partnership with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, has developed "A Field Trip to the Moon," an educational program for school groups. Targeted for grades 5-8, the program blends classroom activities with a dome program. The classroom portion divides the students into teams on an exploratory mission to the Moon. The in-dome portion makes use of AMNH's real-time Digital Universe to present flexible, customized visualizations. We discuss the overall development process, the results of our early piloting and evaluation, and information on the dissemination of the program.

FULLDOME AND IPS: A DIALOGUE
Ryan Wyatt
Abstract: For people unacquainted with immersive video, its complexity may seem daunting: in many ways, acquisition of new technology represents a fundamental shift in both the operations and objectives of planetariums. This informal "Fulldome Town Hall" was an opportunity to discuss the impact of the new technology on our community. The text below summarizes this discussion and the work of the IPS Fulldome Video Committee. As committee Chair, I am interested in your ideas, issues, or concerns about fulldome technology.

Posters

SKYLORE FROM PLANET EARTH:
STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD...ORION & PLEIADES
Dayle L. Brown
Abstract: The starry night sky has always filled us with wonder. Down through the ages we have looked to the skies and have seen images of our heroes, gods, and monsters. Storytellers have illustrated their mythologies and legends with it, passing on to future generations the customs of their people. Many of these stories have survived to the present. In Skylore from Planet Earth we explore some of the stories about the constellation of Orion and the star cluster Pleiades. Since they are located over the Earth's equator, people from the entire planet have looked to them for a reminder of their own traditions. Fifteen richly illustrated stories in each book take the reader on a trip around the world, giving a glimpse into the histories and cultures of the planet's early civilizations.

ARE YOU GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR IPS MEMBERSHIP?
Susan Button
Abstract: Do you know about and take advantage of all the benefits of IPS membership and fully embrace capabilities of interacting with your colleagues around the world? You can draw on the expertise of 700 IPS members from 35 countries. These members represent schools, colleges and universities, museums, and public facilities of all sizes including both fixed and portable planetariums. Members include directors, teachers, technicians, writers, artists, media specialists, presenters, vendors, scientists, students, and sponsors and friends of the planetarium dome and its starry sky. The Great Lakes Planetarium Society is an official affiliate of the International Planetariums Society. Do you direct your IPS affiliate representative to address your concerns at Council meetings? What else can the International Planetarium Society (IPS) do for you?

DATING VAN GOGH'S THE STARRY NIGHT
Alan Davenport
Abstract: The impressionist painting The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh is ubiquitous in the homes and offices of planetarians and other celestially oriented persons. Biographers and art historians have tried to identify the origin of the sky shown in this masterpiece but none to my knowledge has identified the date and time of the sky I found to most convincingly match The Starry Night.

SPEAKER STANDS FOR THE ABRAMS PLANETARIUM
John French
Abstract: The Abrams Planetarium installed a new sound system and speakers in 2004. This poster paper shows how the speakers were mounted on custom built stands behind the planetarium dome.

THE YEAR OF THE TELESCOPE: 2009/10
Jim Sweitzer
Abstract: By the summer of 1609, Galileo began constructing high-magnification telescopes. During the succeeding year he used one to provide empirical evidence for the Copernican revolution. We are approaching the 400th anniversary of this important astronomical year. This poster compares and contrasts the skies in 1609/10 with those coming up in 2009/10. It also suggests that the personal story, the astronomical events, and the potential for meaningful educational activities make it an anniversary year astronomical educators will want to celebrate in their programming.

IPS2006: UNDER SOUTHERN SKIES
David Weinrich
Abstract: This poster will discuss the 2006 International Planetarium Society conference that was held in Melbourne, Australia this past July. Highlights of the IPS Council and the General Business Meeting will be presented. Information on IPS membership and benefits will be discussed.

Workshops

STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT
Jeanne Bishop
Dayle L. Brown
Susan Button
Abstract: Participants in this hands-on workshop will experience a variety of activities and demonstrations inside and outside of the dome. The activities are designed to increase understanding of the nature of light and how it is used to learn about space. Activities will include: Examine the eye's reaction to light and color, Demonstrate the function of rods and cones, Experiment with colors of light, Make their own "Color Analyzers", Create "Secret Messages", Examine star colors, Explore invisible colors in the electromagnetic spectrum.

A SIMPLE AND PROGRAMMABLE LENS SHUTTER FOR YOUR LCD PROJECTOR
David A. DeRemer
Abstract: LCD projectors are portable, relatively inexpensive, and quite handy for PowerPoints or video segments during programs. The main concern, however, is that when there is no video section showing, the LCD projectors leave an annoying large gray rectangle on the dome. Our solution is not really unique or innovative, but it works! With a special geared motor, a transformer and a light baffle, you can create your own LCD shutter.

COSMIC ANALOGIES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY
Dragan Huterer
Randy Landsberg
Hiranya Peiris
Andrew Zenter
Abstract: In this workshop, representatives from the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) presented a short review of modern cosmology and then deconstructed this review by critiquing the cosmic analogies contained within it (e.g., blowing up a balloon representing the expansion of the universe). Each analogy was evaluated on both a scientific and a conceptual basis. The attached pdf file contains the presentation along with "good", "bad" and "ugly" ratings and associated rationale. A version of this presentation with accompanying narration will be posted to the KICP website - http://kicp.uchicago.edu/