GLPA Conference Proceedings: 2021

Proceedings Editor:  Dale W. Smith, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.
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*** 2021 Proceedings PDF ***
Click on the title of each paper/poster/workshop below for a PDF offprint of that individual paper/poster/workshop.
Non-members:  You can order a PDF of this Proceedings ($3) through the online store.
Below are the titles and abstracts for the Invited Speakers, Contributed Papers, Workshops, and Posters presented during the 2020 GLPA Conference. Click on any title to read or download that PDF offprint.
Invited Speakers
Abstract: The 2021 Spitz Lecture centered on LIPS (Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium), in particular its origins and lessons learned over the years. Karrie discussed some key figures from her past and gave the audience a challenge to be a voice in the dark for others.
Shannon Schmoll
Abstract: Astronomy Update is an annual lecture at GLPA that dives deep into a few stories from the previous year centered on a theme. This year’s theme focused on the intersection of astronomy and other areas of study. Stories include mouse pups born from freeze-dried sperm stored on the International Space Station for up to 6 years, testing cyanobacteria growth under an M- dwarf star spectra, growth of plants under Martian radiation conditions, active plates on Venus, and a discussion of the Nebra Sky Disc.
Contributed Papers
Abstract: Writing about the universe has changed quite a bit since 1610 when Galileo wrote the Starry Messenger. Or has it? This paper will offer a look at some effective cosmic communications from the time of the Renaissance to today's tech world.
Abstract: Whether your planetarium is part of a museum, high school, college campus, or somewhere in between, creating a unique experience for attendees will not only make it memorable but can also help build a community connection. While all planetariums play similar roles across the country, each location has certain practices that make it stand apart. This paper will share ideas and examples of details that can be added to shows and other programs in a planetarium to make it specific to its location.
Abstract: This is a story of survival, perseverance, and resilience. No, this is not a story about Covid-19, or a Mars rover. Five years ago, Hurricane Matthew flooded the Robeson Planetarium, destroyed all our equipment, and rendered our building uninhabitable. This is the story of how the Rising Phoenix team was created, raised funds and community support, continued teaching in temporary space, and is now poised to rebuild.
Abstract: In fall 2020, the original Bell Museum Planetarium production Mysteries of Your Brain opened to public audiences. With Aurora Consulting, we conducted evaluation sessions to determine if this content was engaging in the immersive environment of the planetarium, and whether the experience of watching Mysteries of Your Brain made viewers more willing to choose non-astronomy shows in the future.
Jean Creighton & Destiny Brady
Abstract: A planetarian, Jean Creighton, and a talented undergraduate student in Architecture, Destiny Brady, researched Black cultural perspectives around the possibility of extraterrestrial life. We will describe our goals, our process, and some of our insights.
Abstract: Explore the rich history of planetariums and peek into the exciting future ahead with the help of my interactive StoryMap. New updates include numerous interviews with planetarium professionals, information and advice for the next generation of planetarians, and valuable ACS data on the communities that planetariums and STEM informal learning centers serve. Learn how this information can be used to strengthen funding proposals for new projects, or the expansion of current efforts, during this presentation.
Abstract: In 2017, the Peoria Riverfront Museum announced the Every Student Initiative, a donor funded program in which every student from grades Kindergarten through Eight in our most local school district visit the museum and planetarium on a curriculum-related field trip, every year. This program has been popular with students, parents, the schools, and our donors. In recent years, the number of districts and participating schools has grown. I will share how we set up the program, mistakes made and lessons learned, and ideas on how this model might be adapted in other communities.
Abstract: Find out how a planetarian made his way from the Chicago area through facilities across the eastern U. S. to the mountains of western North Carolina and, in the process, twice encountered colleagues in SEPA. Then find out how a community college in western North Carolina transformed a closed landfill into an alternative energy park, added an observatory to what the IDA designated as North Carolina's first Dark Sky Park, and is now adding WNC's first permanent planetarium.
Abstract: Facebook Live, YouTube, Podcasts—how do you get them in front of the public? We'll look at some methods for increasing viewership.
John J. Potts, Ming-Tie Huang, Benjamin J. Keen, Christopher M. Nakamura, Kavindya Senanayake, Marian P. Shih, and Matthew D. Vannette
Abstract: We present a modular, 3D printed assembly used with a laser pointer for very low-cost (<$10) study of interference and diffraction in introductory physics. The apparatus was designed for at-home laboratories during the COVID-19 pandemic. © 2021 The Author(s)
Abstract: Minnesota has some of the darkest skies in the eastern half of the US and is home to the largest Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world. In collaboration with the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium has placed an allsky camera at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center located at the edge of the Dark Sky Sanctuary. In August, a website was launched that hosts the camera feed and archives of previous nights. These views allow people all over to see what truly dark skies look like and enjoy the aurora (when active).
Abstract: World Building on Mars is a curriculum that encourages students to think critically living on Mars. They learn about Mars and urban planning and work together to plan a city on Mars. Pilot participants saw their cities in a 3-D virtual environment powered by Unity and these virtual spaces are available to inspire future users of the curriculum. The curriculum is designed to be flexible in terms of time and teaching modality. It was piloted with in-person, virtual, and hybrid modes of instruction with 5th-12th graders. The project had positive feedback from teachers and students via an independent evaluation.
Sara Schultz, Tiffany Stone-Wolbrecht, and Geoff Holt
Abstract: Just under a decade ago, GLPA members put together a video series called Live from the Planetarium. The original project was aimed at helping planetarians improve their live presentation skills. Planetarians recorded themselves presenting live programs and submitted the recording to be included in the collection. The compiled video provides examples of various techniques important for presenting live planetarium programs. We would like to do this again and hopefully have more people participate. This session is informational and a call for volunteers. We will be looking for comments, concerns, requirements, and roadblocks to consider when planning the implementation this undertaking.
Abstract: As an informal science partner in the NASA-funded OpenSpace project, earlier this year we onboarded two high school students for a 6-week summer internship. During that time, the teens focused on learning the software, developing a mini-planetarium show, and presenting it to their friends and family. We’ll discuss the process, lessons learned, and useful takeaways for anybody interested in launching a similar program.
Dale W. Smith
Abstract: I’ve recently read three of Percival Lowell’s books about the canals he (thought he) saw on Mars. He is an entrancing writer. He frequently thought he saw double canals, the advance of vegetation as the seasons progressed, and nexus points where the canals met. He also described the physics of the Martian atmosphere, and considered the possibility that his sightings were illusions. He even claimed the canals had been photographed. Moreover, he claimed to see canals on Venus!
Abstract: The Network for Earth-space Research Education and Innovation with Data (NEREID) is an interdisciplinary community centered around earth and space science data as well as research and education. NEREID is intentionally designed to bridge domains, connect professionals, and facilitate convergence. It cultivates a collaborative space for curious minds to discuss shared challenges and brainstorm creative solutions. Learn more about NEREID, its goals and priorities, and what it offers potential and current members.
Abstract: During the COVID quarantine of the past year and a half, I have been experimenting with a smart telescope (eVscope by Unistellar). I've been observing and participating in virtual observing sessions from my Chicago back yard. The eVscope can easily image deep sky objects even in light polluted skies. Because it outputs its amazing images directly to a smart phone, it has also been readily capable for sharing observations online in real time. In this short talk I will summarize my experiences with both online and in-person audiences.
Abstract: As the museum industry recovers from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic many planetarians are looking for new opportunities, while museums and planetariums are looking to restaff their teams with high-quality candidates. A handful of simple tips can help a resume stand out, increase performance in interviews, and avoid some common, but easy mistakes.
Jesica Trucks, Shannon Schmoll, Katie Hinko, and Gloria Lopez
Abstract: The NSF-funded Big Astronomy Project is based on the Dome+ model which utilizes design principles of sparking interest, supporting agency, and supporting STEM identity. The project developed a new planetarium show, hands- on activities, live social media events, and a web portal. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the show to premiere online as a YouTube 360-degree streamed video. As domes reopen, some are showing Big Astronomy in person. This paper presents preliminary findings about the interest levels of audience members that each modality attracts. In general, we find people attracted to virtual presentations tend to have more well-developed interests in astronomy.
Abstract: In Living Worlds, the latest award-winning production from the California Academy of Sciences, we explore how understanding life on Earth helps us search for life elsewhere. We visit Earth and Mars in the distant past, we showcase spacecraft that are still on NASA’s drawing boards, and we ruminate on the implications for discovering extraterrestrial intelligence. In this presentation, we’ll touch on the science and engineering stories in the show, highlight some secrets of the production, and share some ideas about our “live sections” that augment the show content in Morrison Planetarium.
Abstract: The last two years have been a whirlwind of challenges, but also opportunities. In the spring of 2020, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery began a new type of virtual program that blended the Education and Astronomy departments into a hands-on and engaging learning experience. The programs targeted Girl and Cub Scouts of all ages, and provided the scouts with the tools and experiences to earn merit badges. Within three months of running, these programs had gained so much momentum, they ended up going international. Join me as we discuss how we brought the planetarium and science to their homes.
Raymond Zich, Rebecca Rosenblatt, and James DiCaro
Abstract: We report on the effect of incorporating computational activities into a general astronomy course. Fifteen spreadsheet-based computational exercises were developed and introduced into an existing active learning astronomy curriculum. Examples of these computational exercises are presented along with assessment of the success of these computational activities. The reasons for introducing computational activities will be discussed, along with difficulties faced. Pre to post correctness gains were 20% with the TOAST and 29% with the LPCI. Free response surveys were used to investigate student attitudes toward computational exercises and course perceptions and revealed positive attitudes towards the computational activities.
Abstract: I report on the conversion of a lecture-based astronomy class to online instruction, the role of active learning techniques in the transition, and the results of incorporating active learning. The COVID-19 pandemic and increased popularity of distance learning resulted in an increase in remote and online instruction. Active learning can be used to maintain student engagement and communication in online classes. I will discuss how active learning techniques were incorporated, the types of active learning materials, and the outcomes. Pre to post gains from the TOAST and LPCI and qualitative assessment results from free response surveys will be reported.
Abstract: The Elgin National Watch Company built an observatory in 1910 to ascertain exact time to sell more watches. The Warner-Swasey 3.5-inch reflector is still in the building today along with the Reifler regulator clocks. In 1960 the building was gifted to the local school district after the company’s demise. A planetarium with a Spitz A3P was added on to the back of the building in 1963 under the supervision of Mr. Don Tuttle. It has been hosting student and community groups continuously since then.
Abstract: Planetariums have always been unique learning spaces where creative ideas flourish. While the educational role of the planetarium should always receive the highest priority, other creative uses of this unique space are possible. In addition to hosting planetarium shows, full-dome movies, weddings, and screenings of general release movies, our planetarium regularly rents out its dome for gaming parties, inviting gamers to play video games on our domed screen. This poster describes the requirements and practical benefits of this alternative use of the planetarium.
Karrie Berglund
Abstract: GLIPSA is an all-day LIPS-style (Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium) workshop. For 2021 we had sessions on using audio in the dome, team storytelling, hiring/training/evaluating staff, and more.
Ken Brandt
Abstract: NASA’s newest robots are safely on Mars, successfully carrying out their mission thus far. In this workshop, we will discuss the resources, images, and videos which might be used in the dome. We’ll also go over what’s been accomplished so far, and what lies in the future for these intrepid explorers.
Mike Hennessy and Charissa Sedor
Abstract: Buhl Planetarium educators Mike Hennessy and Charissa Sedor lead an interactive planetarium theater workshop. Cosmic Cookbook is a trio of free, customizable planetarium shows. Attendees watch a sample of the first Cosmic Cookbook show, Expedition: Solar System, and learn how to adapt this free program for their own venues. Using Human Design Centered brainstorms and storyboard activities, participants make meaningful contributions to the production of the next Cosmic Cookbook shows, Expedition: Earth and Expedition: Exoplanet.