GLPA Conference Proceedings: 2009

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2009 Proceedings PDF:
 
2009 Supplemental Materials:
 

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Invited Talks

ASTRONOMY FOR THE PLANETARIAN, 2009
Dr. Ronald Kaitchuck
Abstract: The goal of this presentation is to inform the GLPA membership of recent discoveries in astronomy, in particular, those things they need to know to better serve planetarium visitors. This year brought discoveries ranging from water on the Moon to the observation of the farthest supernova ever seen. The Sun continued to be unusually quiet even as understanding of the solar cycle improved. Mercury was mapped with precision by the NASA MESSENGER probe and the detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars suggested the possibility of active life on the red planet. One of the biggest surprises of the year was the discovery of structures in the rings of Saturn that are as high as Mount Everest. Saturn’s moon Enceladus continued to show evidence of a hidden ocean of water while Titan appears to have lakes filled by liquid methane rain. The number of known extrasolar planets surpassed 400 while there is an unexpected deficit of brown-dwarf stars. Astronomers took the spectrum of the light echo from Tycho’s supernova of the year 1572. Two other supernovae went unobserved at the time of their outburst: one last year in M82 last year and another one in our own galaxy 140 years ago. The Milky Way is now thought to be as least as massive as the Andromeda galaxy and the Milky Way has a four million solar-mass black hole at its center. There is evidence that in the early universe the formation of supermassive black holes preceded the formation of galaxies. A new analysis of the cosmic background radiation suggests an event that preceded the big bang.

TAKING PICTURES (AND MOVIES!) OF EXOPLANETS ORBITING OTHER STARS
Dr. Christian Marois
Abstract: Almost 15 years ago the first unambiguous indirect detection of a planet around a star was made. Several teams have since then pursued ambitious adaptive optics surveys on large telescopes in hoping to get an image of such a planet, but only several brown dwarfs and a few possible candidate planets have been detected so far at generally wide >100 AU separations. The year 2008 marks the end of this long drought with the direct detection of planets around A-type stars. One of these discoveries, the HR 8799 planetary system made at the Gemini North and Keck telescopes, is the first multi-planet system portrait and also the first direct detection of thermal emission of confirmed planets in orbit around a star. The HR 8799 system discovery marks an important step forward in the direct characterization of Jovians to Earth-like planets with future instrumentations and larger telescopes. I will describe the HR 8799 system discovery and new 2009 results.

A 648 MPIXEL PANORAMA IMAGE OF THE ENTIRE SKY
Dr. Axel Mellinger
Abstract: This article describes the assembly of a photometrically calibrated optical (RGB) all-sky mosaic image with an image scale of 36 arcsec/pixel, a limiting magnitude of approx. 14 mag and an 18 bit dynamic range (Mellinger, 2009). Using a portable low-cost system, 70 fields (each covering 40°*27°) were imaged over a time span of 21 months from dark-sky locations in South Africa, Texas, and Michigan. Gradients resulting from artificial light pollution, airglow ,and zodiacal light were eliminated with the help of photometric data from the Pioneer 10/11 probes.

LESSONS LEARNED IN THE DARK
2009 Armand N. Spitz Lecture
Ken Miller
Abstract: Ken Miller entered the planetarium field the usual way.... unexpectedly! But working in the dark for 45 years has taught him to identify products that the planetarium can sell to others, rather than to depend upon charity. In these tough economic times, knowing the difference between philanthropy and marketing is essential.

 

Contributed Papers

THE MAKING OF GALILEO, APOLLO, AND PLUTO—
GREAT SHOWS ENDING IN O!
Robert Bonadurer
Abstract: Explore the dark side of the dome—all the “fun” production work behind the creation of a Planetarium show. While Galileo is a full length show, Apollo and Pluto are short five minute programs. The shows are available for purchase at a modest cost.

ND IX: 9th BIENNIAL HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY WORKSHOP, JULY 8-12, 2009
Dayle L. Brown
Abstract: I attended the ND IX: 9th Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop and would like to share information about it. The workshop was sponsored by the University of Notre Dame and the Adler Planetarium.

A COLLECTIVE GAZE AT THE STARS
Chuck Bueter
Abstract: A planetarium serves its community by leading a vast yet genuine science experiment to quantify how much of the night sky has been lost. Thousands of students, teachers, and parents celebrate the 2009 International Year of Astronomy by conducting citizen-science after astronomical twilight, then build explanatory models out of gelatin and colored blocks. See www.LetThereBeNight.com for details.

SEASONS AND STORIES OF THE WORLD
In Honor of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy
Susan Reynolds Button
Abstract: The planetarium can be used as a laboratory to study the annual Sun’s path. A variety of sky stories from around the world can be interspersed throughout the lesson in honor of International Year of Astronomy. This lesson was developed for a 2009 presentation in Italy to high school students. It was the beginning of a new initiative that encourages American planetarians to apply for a chance to teach in Italy.

PEOPLE’S PERCEPTION OF CONSTELLATIONS
Jean Creighton
Sandra Toro Martell
Abstract: Audiences consistently report they have a hard time visualizing and locating constellations. How do we satisfy their curiosity without overwhelming them? We discuss some techniques.

EVENING PLANETS VISIBLE IN 2010
John French
Robert C. Victor
Abstract: This paper discusses the gathering of planets in the evening sky in the year 2010. A Digistar 2 demo shows the sky through the year highlighting the gathering of Venus, Saturn, and Mars from March to August.

PHYSICS OF GO-KARTING
Allen Helfen
Abstract: I am the driver for the BGSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Karting team. We compete in an annual race on campus with seven other teams. Karting involves many aspects of science in how we get our Quantum Racing machine around the track as fast as possible. We use information we gather, as well as the physics involved with racing. I will explain some aspects of our work.

UPDATE: LIVE FROM THE PLANETARIUM PROJECT
Geoff Holt
Gary Sampson
Abstract: We will provide an update on what we've learned, where we're headed, and how you can help. The goal: to improve live presentation skills.

GLPA WEB SITE: FUTURE POSSIBILITIES
Geoff Holt
Daniel R. Tell
Abstract: As GLPA and its members grow over time, our online presence changes also. We'll highlight some of the features we are considering rolling out in the near future: unified system and style, a 3D image and video library, GLPA resource library online, and more. Join the team!

WHAT WOULD GALILEO SAY?
Roy Kaelin
Abstract: In this banner International Year of Astronomy, it is dismaying to learn of reports from academe that educational institutions either have cut back or are planning to scale back science curricula, particularly in astronomy and related disciplines. It is the intent of a detailed survey to elicit your responses in order to gauge the depth of recent and planned cutbacks, and to use its results as a means to prepare apt responses to argue against future cutbacks or to suggest possible alternatives to providing science education.

THE MAKING OF AWESOME LIGHT: FILMING ON MAUNA KEA AND OTHER ADVENTURES
Shawn Laatsch
Abstract: Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii’s has created a planetarium show called Awesome Light which shares the Mauna Kea Observatories and their latest discoveries with the public. It was the first digital full dome show to utilize 3D stereoscopic time-lapse photography to take the audience into the observatories. In this paper I will share the story of how this program was made, progress on the second installment, and plans for future shows.

TWO SMALL PIECES OF GLASS—IYA AND THE FUTURE
Shawn Laatsch
Abstract: Two Small Pieces of Glass was a planetarium show produced for the International Year of Astronomy that was distributed in traditional form to all IPS members free, and for a small cost for digital full domes. The program has played in 200 digital domes, and close to 400 traditional ones at last count. In this paper I will discuss how the project came to be, and how we hope it will be used by planetaria beyond IYA and into the future.NATIONAL SOLAR SYSTEM PROJECT
Jacob Larsen
Abstract: The National Solar System Project is a scale model of the solar system from Kennedy Space Center to the Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center in Bay City, Michigan.

AESTHETIC ASTRONOMY
Adam Leis
Abstract: I will discuss the difficulties of depicting space in an artistic manner. Many challenges arise from such ambitious pursuits, and so artists must develop a balance between what is scientifically correct and what is aesthetically pleasing. If that balance is found while maintaining a compelling concept or theme, the artist not only connects with the artistic community, but also with the scientists who make the discoveries of these far off places.

DIGITAL GRAPHICS FILE FORMATS
Waylena McCully
Abstract: When preparing digital graphics there are many different file formats available. JPG, TGA, PNG, SVG… So many to choose from! This presentation will help sort out this alphabet soup and outline some things to keep in mind when choosing file formats and settings.

USING AN E-MAIL MARKETING SERVICE TO PROMOTE YOUR PLANETARIUM
Mark S. Reed
Abstract: In an effort to better promote the Peter F. Hurst Planetarium, a K-12 school facility in Jackson, Michigan, a widely advertised e-mail marketing service Constant Contact was selected to deliver its electronic newsletter. Within this paper, the author will share some of his insights into the creation and delivery of his free newsletter that he writes each month.

WINE AND CHEESE UNDER THE STARS—A NEW PROGRAM STRATEGY
Sheldon Schafer
Abstract: As planetarians, we’re always looking for ways to attract new audiences, and ways to increase our gate receipts. At the Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences, we’ve taken the lead from the most popular features of our museum exhibit openings—socialization with food and drink—and applied it to our planetarium program. This paper will discuss the elements of our new program format.

SCANNING 80,000 SLIDES (AND COUNTING)
Dale W. Smith
Abstract: I am digitizing my personal slide collection. To date I have scanned over 80,000 slides, or about 60% of the collection, and am moving along steadily at the rate of 200 per day. Though this is a personal project, there are many lessons that also apply to scanning planetarium slides. In this paper, I share the methods and lessons.

NATIVE AMERICAN STORYTELLERS UNDER THE STARS
Dave Weinrich
Abstract: During the past school year, a cooperative program between the North Dakota Council for the Art, two school districts, three Native American artists, and the MSU Moorhead Planetarium brought the artists into local classrooms and the planetarium. The stars were used to create an avenue of interest and cultural connection for the learning of both science and art.

IYA at FSC
April S. Whitt
Abstract: Fernbank Science Center has hosted special planetarium programs, exhibit openings, children’s activities, and observatory events, along with concerts and a 445th birthday party. And it’s only mid-October!

 

Posters

TRANSFORMING OUR SUN ROOM, PART I
Cheri Adams
Abstract: The original Sun Room is undergoing a renovation to include the installation of a roof top solar telescope that had been purchased many years ago.

"VENUS" IS COMING
Dayle L. Brown
Abstract: Take a sneak preview of the fourth book in the Skylore series: Skylore from Planet Earth: stories from around the world…VENUS. Coming Soon!

VISUALIZING SCIENCE THROUGH ADAPTED CURRICULUM ENHANCEMENTS (ACE)
David W. Hurd
Abstract: Creating accurate mental images of science concepts is very important to retaining and retrieving information. This can be problematic if a student is blind or visually impaired. This poster examines the effort of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) to better prepare science teachers to design and produce alternative ways to convey science concepts.

IPS UPDATE
Dave Weinrich
Abstract: This poster highlights news from the recent IPS Council meeting. Emphasis is on information that is relevant to GLPA members regarding future conferences and opportunities for involvement with fellow IPS members worldwide.

 

Workshops

PORTABLE SHAR-A-THON
Dayle Brown
Jeanne E. Bishop
Abstract: It’s your turn! Participants should come to this workshop prepared to toot their own horn. Everyone has methods that work for them. Maybe these same methods can help your colleagues! Share an idea, tip, or technique used in the planetarium with us.

ASTRONOMY EDUCATOR’S MAKE AND TAKE WORKSHOP
David DeRemer
David Hurd
Abstract: This workshop features the greatest tried-and-true astronomy make-and-take activities that we could find. Activities representing all grade levels will be presented. Along with getting simple ideas in your hands, we will be emphasizing the use of strategies and techniques that benefit ALL students (Universal Design for Learning). You will also use and learn about models originally designed for people with visual impairments and why it can benefit sighted learners. Additional ideas from workshop participants will be welcomed. A limited number of tactile solar systems will also be available to participants.