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ISSUE 15 - July 2014

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The University of Washington Mobile Planetarium: Main Title A Do-it-yourself Guide (page 35)
Phil Rosenfield, Justin Gaily, Oliver Fraser, John Wisniewski

Planetarium, Astronomy Education, Do-it-yourself Planetarium, DIY Planetarium


The University of Washington mobile planetarium project is a student-driven effort to bring astronomy to secondary schools, and the community, in Seattle, USA. This paper presents the solution that was designed and built in order to use the World- Wide Telescope — a computer program created by Microsoft that displays the astronomical sky as maps, the 3D Universe, and earth science data — from a laptop and an off-the-shelf high-definition (HD) projector located in an inflatable plane- tarium.

In the first six months of operation, undergraduates at the University of Washington presented planetarium shows to over 1500 people, and 150 secondary school students created and presented their own astronomy projects in our dome, at their school. This paper aims to share the technical aspects of the project so that others can replicate the model or adapt it to their needs. This project was made possible thanks to a NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope education/public outreach grant.