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Observatory Central > Planetarium Forum > Planetariums as a hobby > Planetarium Presentations ~ programs, education, music, and effects
Ken Miller
I don't often actually do a presentation for groups. I like to demonstrate the equipment, but I feel like a lot of people on this forum: I'm not sure that I know what I'm talking about, and I don't want to look like an idiot (even though all of us know more than we think we do). I've done some brief presentations for kids and I really had fun just going with the flow and following their lead as to what they want to learn about. They don't ask the hard questions. The hardest question they might ask is "what do stars smell like?".

When I found out that my granddaughter's second grade class was coming to the Children's Natural History Museum, I wanted to do something special because she was expecting it. In fact, I've done very little there since setting up the planetarium for them to use, and performing maintenance on the projector as needed. When it was apparent that doing a presentation using video in the dome was just going to get in the way of the normal lesson plan, we decided that I would do the presentation on a screen in the classroom instead. I stressed out over doing a good job, way more than I should have. I projected the same Nightshade program that I would have done in the dome, and asked everybody to pretend that they were laying on their backs looking up at the sky. I asked them what they saw and what was interesting to them. Then I expanded on the topics they were interested in. I filled in with more details about what was showing in the sky so that they had things that they could zero in on. The group was split into two smaller groups so that we could fit half into the small dome, while the other half was with me in the classroom. So I did presentations for each of the two groups. The two presentations were completely different because the kids focused in on different topics. I had a lot of fun, and the kids did too. The first group went very well, but the second one was spectacular, followed by a round of applause. They didn't want to leave. It was a relief that I didn't screw up and embarrass my grandaughter, and it was way more fun than I expected.
Ken Miller
One lesson that I think that you can take from this, is that you don't necessarily need a dome to do an effective astronomy presentation. I used the same software and projector in the dome (with the help of the LSS fisheye adapter) and on a flat screen in the classroom, and I think I got the same results. But you have to say that the dome is way more cool!

I had to do some convincing to get the museum to put in the dome, but there is no way you could get them to part with it now. They also love the little Apollo projector. It's too bad that there are so few of them around (this is the small portable version). I haven't seen another one since I bought that one several years ago. Come to think of it, it seems like all of the equivalent small projectors are getting scarce.
Ron Walker
QUOTE(Ken Miller @ Sep 21 2011, 01:34 PM) *
One lesson that I think that you can take from this, is that you don't necessarily need a dome to do an effective astronomy presentation. I used the same software and projector in the dome (with the help of the LSS fisheye adapter) and on a flat screen in the classroom, and I think I got the same results. But you have to say that the dome is way more cool!

I had to do some convincing to get the museum to put in the dome, but there is no way you could get them to part with it now. They also love the little Apollo projector. It's too bad that there are so few of them around (this is the small portable version). I haven't seen another one since I bought that one several years ago. Come to think of it, it seems like all of the equivalent small projectors are getting scarce.


It is so typical of people who don't understand and who can not imagine at all what something will look like after it's done. They are the ones that create the biggest obstacles and are the first to demand their name on a project when it proves its worth. Now that they can actually see the result....

There were very few of the Apollo's ever built. Soon after the E-5 (which uses the Apollo star ball I believe) and the E-3 or NEX which doesn't do quite the same job as the original Apollo.

Flat screen vs. dome, no comparison, the dome is "way more cool". Otherwise why would we all be trying to make domes?
Ken Miller
QUOTE(Ron Walker @ Sep 21 2011, 01:53 PM) *
There were very few of the Apollo's ever built. Soon after the E-5 (which uses the Apollo star ball I believe) and the E-3 or NEX which doesn't do quite the same job as the original Apollo.

I think that you are right on target, and I almost added a couple of the same comments in my post. Those projectors you mention were all made by Goto in Japan. The Apollo portable was probably made by Goto for Viewlex. I think the E-3 you mention was known as the EX3, which is similar to the NEX. Those projectors were used in just about every Japanese gradeschool, but the image quality is nothing like the Apollo. The E-5, Eros, starball is very similar to the Apollo, and the E-5 was sold by Viewlex as the Apollo III, with Viewlex controls (that had lots of problems).
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