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"Oh!...Oh my!  My mind is trying to absorb this!"

Marion Diamond, Director, Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, California

Planning for your Stellarium

Your institution is ready for the finest stellar astronomy display made... Now what?

1 - Determine the best location for your Stellarium.

Find the location that will hold the largest Stellarium that will fit into your exhibit space. In addition to normal exhibit considerations such as traffic flow A Stellarium star map requires some thought about lighting. Stars are best seen in the dark. The lower the light level the better.  The Stellarium windows can reflect brightly lighted objects, photo transparencies, etc. That might degrade the view. Below are some example photographs of a small Stellarium 3D star field in a room with low level lighting.  The photo on the left shows that the view was quite good.  A bright computer monitor was then placed facing the Stellarium (behind the camera) and the monitor was turned on for the photograph on the right. The reflected image interferes with the view.

Pitch black conditions are rarely possible.

Stellarium windows are solar gray polycarbonate (unless otherwise specified) and allow good viewing at light levels often found in astronomy or space exhibit halls.

This picture was taken through a small Stellarium under such typical reduced lighting conditions. Examine the illustrations and notes on the “Stellariums” pages for more general notes on layout and lighting considerations for an optimum display environment. The designer should always feel free to contact me with any questions.

Hint:  If your institution has a planetarium, its staff members spend a lot of time working with light to create shows and maintain dark space theaters.   Don’t leave your architect working alone in the dark!  Remember that I am at the designers service with over 25 years of experience.

2 - Determine your Stellarium budget.

The Prices page can provide general price ranges for Stellarium maps. Since every Stellarium is custom made it is possible to adjust the price by adjusting the number of stars and features of the unit.

When the Jay B. Nash foundation gave a donation to the Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium  it was important to get the finest possible display and to stay within the amount of the donation.  Planetarium director Jerry Vinski hoped for a display that could do double duty by moving it into the planetarium theater and opening windows on all sides for live 3-D star talks.

The finished unit fulfilled all of the requirements and was still delivered $5.00 under budget.

3 - Contact me.

The very best possible exhibit is our mutual goal. We can discuss and develop your initial thoughts via telephone and email.  We will determine your map specifications based on your requirements, budget, and facility.  I work directly with the designers and technical staff as may be needed, and bring over 25 years of professional stellar astronomy display and planetarium technical experience to your project.  Once the specifications are established a proposal will be sent to you, a contract based on the proposal is established, and construction of your Stellarium begins.