Archive for October, 2013

The British Association of Planetaria Conference

27-28 September

Vesta Nasa Image of the DayIt was lovely to catch up with old friends at BAP and make some new ones. I was truly amazed by some of the new software for digital planetariums that will make producing shows so much easier. Digistar 5, and the latest versions of RSA Cosmos and Sky-Skan allow shows to be made by dragging and dropping images on to a timeline. How many hours of my life would have been saved if that had been invented a few years ago?!

The conference delegates were shown many new dome shows. “Back to the Moon for Good” was made by the National Space Centre’s Creative Team (they also made Astronaut, We are Astronomers, We are Aliens and Cell Cell Cell). It is all about the Google X prize to land a rover on the moon. It looks pretty amazing! But the most enchanting show was made in Warsaw at the Copernicus Science Centre it is called “Dream to fly” it is the history of flight, from Icarus onward, told in a most beautiful way.

I was also fascinated to see how mobile planetariums have improved since the days when I took a Starlab planetarium around schools and libraries in Scotland some years ago. Inventive mobile planetariums are coming up with cheap solutions to provide a full dome experience from one projector and a curved mirror. Very clever! They are also adept at using software to make their own shows using free images. I am sure they are giving the schools they visit really awe inspiring experiences!

It wasn’t all good though, Wynyard Planetarium in Wynyard Woodland Park has been run by Stockton Council for some years now but the council can no longer afford to keep it going. It looks like the local astronomy association will take it over and run it. Hopefully they will find some money to continue the program of public shows and school visits. Good luck to them!

This is an image of the Asteroid Vesta, it was was featured as  Nasa’s Image of the Day