Planetarium Zoom Seminars — YouTube playlist:
2023 Nov 17 - Teaching in Italy and the Lessons I Learned. Originally selected to teach astronomy in 2020 as part of the longstanding "An Experience in Italy" initiative, Andy Kreyche finally was able to go as the program resumed post-Covid. Giving lessons in astronomy to high school students and leading teacher workshops in another country confirmed some expectations, and shattered others. Being in Italy for the first time gave Andy new perspectives on kindness, artistry, and permanence. In this travelog-style seminar Andy visits a school in Assisi, a Franciscan convent in the countryside, historic Ravenna, and an observatory perched high above a valley in the foothills of the Alps. Andy Kreyche has worked in planetariums of various sizes and configurations, with presentation style informed by hands-on activities. Andy is an inaugural board member of LIPS (Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium) and is active in the Santa Cruz (California) Chapter of DarkSky International. Watch the video. Read th chat.
2023 Oct 27 - Pointerology. A pointer is a little thing that can make a big difference. John Erickson (The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA) presents a review of different pointers and how they work, with a discussion of the pros and cons of each. Seminar participants show-and-tell their favorite pointers, commercial & home-made, and share best techniques for using pointers in the planetarium. John introduces planetarium tools including a new pointer meant to embody the best pointer features developed with the help of a PPA mini grant. See building instructions for this pointer, including sources for all the parts and a model for 3D printing the body. John also shares lessons he learned during the development process. For more than 30 years, John Erickson led programs for students, teachers, and the public, did curriculum development, and in later years was the planetarium director. Watch the video. Read the chat. See also Dome-L Discussion: Which pointer is best? on the IPS website.
2023 September 29 - Activities for the Centennial of the Planetarium. No Seminar Leader, but Michael McConville, IPS President, gave us a brief tour of the Planetarium Centennial website (https://planetarium100.org/). We had a broad ranging discussion and brainstorming about what our planetariums do in celebration of the Centennial of the Planetarium. In particular brainstormed possible audience activities that can raise awareness of planetarium visitors about planetarium lore. This seminar is intended to complement the October 21 launch of the Centennial years (see Centennial of the Planetarium website). Watch the video. Read the chat.
2023 August 25 - Professional Development for an Early Career Planetarian. Ellen Torres Thompson (she/they) graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2021 with a B.A. in Astrophysics and South & Southeast Asian Studies. Since completing her studies at Cal, Ellen has taken on the role of Planetarium Lead Educator at The Lawrence Hall of Science, where she develops and presents live interactive programs, as well as trains and supervises student staff. This past June, Ellen attended the Stars For All planetarium conference in Kingsport, Tennessee, where she largely expanded her professional network and collected a wealth of exciting ideas to take home to the Hall. In this presentation, Ellen recaps her experience of SfA, emphasizing the importance of such development opportunities for early career professionals. Additionally, she describes Planetarium Pilots, a new guest-driven planetarium experience which she presented on at the conference. Watch the video. Read the chat.
2023 July 28 - Two North American Solar Eclipses in Two Consecutive Years! Jim Todd, Director of Space Science Education at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) and the president of the Rose City Astronomers Club, helps you prepare for the 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse and 2024 Solar Eclipse! The annular eclipse this year is the second of three notable solar eclipses viewable from the US. It follows the US total eclipse of August 2017 and comes six months before the North American total eclipse of April 2024. On October 14, 2023, annularity, where the Sun forms a 'ring of fire' around the Moon, is visible along a narrow path that crosses from Oregon to Texas.Portland observes an 86% partial eclipse at 9:19 AM (Pacific Time). The Great North American Total Solar Eclipse takes place on April 8, 2024. The narrow path of totality runs through central Mexico, the eastern United States, and eastern Canada. A partial eclipse visible across nearly all of North America. Portland observes a 22% partial eclipse at 11:25 AM. Solar viewing glasses are required for both viewings! Where are you in 2023 and 2024 and how can your planetarium serve your community best? Watch the video. Read the chat.
2023 May 26 - Show and Tell: Free Image Processing Programs for Educators. Planetarian peers discussed some free open source graphics editing and image processing programs. We shared tips and tricks that you can use in different programs. We started GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) and Krita. We talked about how to use image processing to create engaging content, effective web/marketing materials, and educational lesson plans for students. It was for all ranges from beginners interested in seeing what is possible, to intermediates looking to improve their workflow, to experts who are willing to share their knowledge. Moderated by Jeff Nee at the Museum & Informal Education Alliance. Watch the video. Read the chat.
2023 Apr 28 - Fundamentals of Visual Storytelling. Seminar leader: Michael McConville. This seminar provides a primer for understanding how our audiences experience and interpret information. Our choices of color, position, relationships, and context can make good shows great and great shows extraordinary. We walk through numerous examples of how proper visual storytelling can make even the most complicated concepts and data sets easier to understand, and we’ll spend time during the workshop sharing some best practices and working through some visualization decisions as a group. Michael McConville is the president of the International Planetarium Society, founder of the Dome Dialogues online forum, and the director of customer outreach for E&S and Spitz. Watch the video. Read the chat.
2023 Mar 31 - 23 Years of K-8 Under the Dome. Seminar leader: Jeremy Amarant. I was hired to run the Palmdale School District's SAGE Planetarium just over 23 years ago. At the time, it was a new facility that had only been open one year. Pretty much everything from there has been a huge learning curve and I have learned to surf that wave. Hear about my journey and what I have learned along the way. Whether it is building a planetarium program for covid, or designing a science bus, you are guaranteed to gain some insight into surviving and thriving in a K-8 environment. Watch the video. Read the chat.
2023 Feb 24 - Planetarium Marketing Tips and Tactics. Karrie Berglund workshop leader. In this interactive workshop, we explore and share ideas for marketing your planetarium programs. We discuss the following: What is marketing anyway? What are some strategies to consider when putting together a marketing plan? What tactics have other planetarians found to be successful or unsuccessful? Karrie also shares some insights on an overarching philosophy that has worked for Digitalis in marketing their products. Karrie Berglund is Director of Education for and co-founder of Digitalis Education Solutions. In this role she wears many hats, including serving as marketing director. Karrie is a former planetarian, having started out in a Starlab for Pacific Science Center's Science On Wheels program, and she oversaw the Willard Smith Planetarium at Pacific Science Center for about a year before starting Digitalis in January, 2023. She is also chief instigator for the Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium (LIPS). Watch the video. Read the chat.
2023 Jan 27 - NASA Artemis Mission in Planetarium Programs. NASA plans to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon with NASA's Artemis missions. Then, we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap - sending astronauts to Mars. Presenter: Patricia Moore, NASA's Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate's Outreach Strategist. Watch the video; Read the chat.
2023 Feb 24. Planetarium Marketing Tips and Tactics. In this interactive workshop, we will explore and share ideas for marketing your planetarium programs. We will discuss the following: What is marketing anyway? What are some strategies to consider when putting together a marketing plan? What tactics have other planetarians found to be successful or unsuccessful? Karrie will also share some insights on an overarching philosophy that has worked for Digitalis in marketing their products. This workshop is led by Karrie Berglund, Director of Education for and co-founder of Digitalis Education Solutions. In this role she wears many hats, including serving as marketing director. Karrie is a former planetarian, having started out in a Starlab for Pacific Science Center's Science On Wheels program, and she oversaw the Willard Smith Planetarium at Pacific Science Center for about a year before starting Digitalis in January, 2023. She is also chief instigator for the Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium (LIPS).
2022 Nov 18. The Astronomy of the Northern Dene (Athabascans), Chris Cannon, Assistant Professor with the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. At the center of these knowledge systems is a principal constellation identified as the incarnated spirit of a Traveler-Transformer figure who journeyed around the world in ancient time. Although this Traveler is widely known in Dene stories as the one who instilled balance and order in the world, his enigmatic transformation to the sky is known by few remaining Elders and tradition bearers. The Traveler constellation is not only a world custodian but also a teacher, ally, gamekeeper, and the embodiment of the world. These large constellations (sometimes covering the entire sky) composed of numerous smaller groups of stars named after body parts have deep antiquity in the Dene family. Chris Cannon has been involved with language and cultural documentation projects with Northern Dene Elders, speakers, and community members since 2008. Watch the Video. Read the chat.
2022 Oct 28 - Blending Videos: Video Editing Workshop for Domes and Informal Educators - In the current age of the attention economy and the pandemic era, video content is a practical necessity for any organization looking to make an impact. Here is a beginner-to-intermediate workshop for any educator looking to create video content for your own use, e.g. on social media, on your websites, as exhibit content, digital signage, fulldome shows, or other programming. Presentation Slides as well as sample working files are here, so non-beginners can gauge their interest in attending. You will also be able to take the content to create your own hands-on, video editing workshop/afterschool/camp for students and other audiences as a way to build skills and inspire the next generation of content creators in your community. We will be using the free, open source program Blender, as a continuation of the PPA's Blender workshop series. There are no prerequisites for attending this workshop; we will start at the beginning since we've only touched on video editing previously. We will expect you to have installed the latest version of Blender ahead of time, and you may have the best experience if you have multiple monitors/devices, e.g. one screen to actively work in Blender, one screen for looking at the provided slides, and perhaps a separate phone to simply hear the conversations and voice your own questions. A proper mouse with a scroll wheel and a middle click will also help. There exists countless online tutorials to learn on one's own, so this workshop will focus on simply providing a dedicated time to work interactively with your peers, ask/answer questions, and generally foster the PPA/dome community. Any questions/requests/suggestions can go to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your organization would like a special talk from NASA's Museum & Informal Education Alliance, simply let us know! Watch the Video. Chat.
2022 July 29. The Art of Mars - Activities for Planetariums and others - We are embarking into a whole new universe of art-in-the-universe from Webb Space Telescope images. How can we best involve people in art-science connections? The traditional classroom often distinguishes between the subjects of Arts and Sciences, and there’s a pervasive myth about creativity being at odds with logical science. However, Art can enhance and communicate Science, just as Science can augment and inspire Art. In these hands on activities, great for both inside and outside the dome, audiences take the case study of the Red Planet, Mars, to illustrate how the creative arts and scientific exploration have always been intertwined in the human experience. Inspired by the Planetarium Activities for Student Success from the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Art and the Cosmic Connection lesson plans from JPL, audiences explore history of Mars exploration, elements of Art, astrobiology, and more. The activity/show materials are published on the MIE Alliance site (apply for an account here). The show preview (700 MB) is here. Questions/feedback are always welcome to the coordinator, Jeff Nee. Watch the Video. Chat.
2022 June 24. We had a get together to recall the early days of the PPA with PPA old-timers especially invited to reminisce and tell stories. We had one of these last June and two to the old-timers who attended passed away in the fall, Mike Bennett and Steve Craig. Mike has left us some of the early newsletters, the Pointer, that we are digitizing and putting on the PPA website, so we had a look at those as part of this get together. Watch the Video.
2022 May 27. NASA Resources for Planetariums, a panel-symposium to explore and discuss various ways that NASA currently supports planetariums and what the future could hold. Panelists included Mark Subbarao (NASA Scientific Visualization Studio; SVS), Jeff Nee (Museum & Informal Education Alliance, JPL), Doug Duncan and John Keller (University of Colorado Fiske Planetarium), Frank Summers (Space Telescope Science Institute), and possibly others. Participants saw what's available and shared ideas about how NASA could enhance its support for the planetariums of the world, and their planetariums in particular. Watch the Video. Chat.
2022 Mar 25. Edu Myths. Dr. Jenny Shipway. Planetarians spend a lot of time addressing astronomy misconceptions, but we should also be on guard for popular education misconceptions. This talk looks at some of the most sticky and prevalent edu myths, why they are so difficult to dispel, and how their allure can offer a useful window into the mind of our audiences. Dr. Shipway has been working in and with planetaria for nearly twenty years, including ten years leading the 17m digital dome at Winchester Science Centre, UK. She has sung songs with toddlers, taught astronomy to school children, and moved corporate customers to tears (in a good way!). She is now an independent contractor, working on a variety of projects including education research training and scriptwriting/consultancy for fulldome films. She sits on the IPS Education Committee (Education Research sub-committee) and is a past president of the British Association of Planetaria. She is based in Winchester, UK. http://www.jennyshipway.com. Watch the Video. Chat. References.
2022 Feb 25. Blender Help Desk: After the primer workshop and the intermediate workshop, it's time to create something you can use in your dome. This session will be a freeform Q&A/feedback/working session to help you actually complete a Blender creation you can use right away. Remember that online video tutorials abound for most tasks in Blender, so search for "Blender how to..." just to get started, then bring it to share with the group, and/or get help, feedback, tips, best practices, and more. Relevant links are in the video description. Email email@example.com with questions/suggestions. Watch the Video
2022 Jan 28. Navigating by the Stars. Tony Smith, J. Watumull Planetarium at Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. The art and science of non-instrument navigation was nearly lost in Hawai'i when permanent settlement was established around 600 years ago. In the 1970s the Polynesian Voyaging Society was established to prove that it was possible to navigate the open ocean without the aid of modern instruments. In this talk Tony Smith demonstrated some of the methods used by modern navigators to sail thousands of miles and pull islands out of the ocean, and how we share this knowledge with audiences in our planetarium. Watch the Video. Chat.