The word "planetarium" has two meanings.

1. An optical instrument designed to project an image of the night sky onto the inside of a hemisphere so that it may be studied. Usually has the appearance of a see-saw with a ball on each end. Each ball has a plethora of lenses on it which projects the artificial star field on to a surface.

2. A building or room containing said instrument, usually containing many seats, as in a theater so that an audience may view the star field.

Home Planetarium (thing)

Imagine a cool night, with a clear sky, far away from city lights. The sky is pitch black, the stars are bright. You see Orion's belt and sword, details of the milky way, and all the way to Andromeda. In the Pleiades, six of the seven sisters are visible. The night sky can be stunningly beautiful.

Away from city lights, the night sky is a remarkable sight-- brilliant, pretty, relaxing, and soothing.

Living in the city, it's often impossible to get a good view of the night sky. If there is a planetarium near, one can go visit. A planetarium view isn't the same as a good natural view of the night sky, but it can be more beautiful than night skies seen in the city. Some choose a planetarium in their home.

The possibilities for a home planetarium are endless. A simple pinhole box or globe planetarium, with a light bulb inside, costs next to nothing to make. There are also various kinds of projectors with lenses. That is the starting point for producing better results.

A few years ago Sega came out with a breakthrough in home planetarium equipment. The newer home gear has an LED light projector with a lens, tailored to projecting a filmed image of the night sky. The projector can be set to slowly rotate the image and turn itself off after an hour.

This is a nice addition to a bedroom. You can get ready for sleep underneath the stars, after looking at the galaxy and meditating, or something.

If this seems interesting, try looking here.

"...Mona Lisas and mad hatters, sons of bankers, sons of lawyers, turn around and say, 'good morning' to the night. For unless they see the sky, but they can't and that is why, they know not if it's dark outside or light." - B. Taupin / E. John

Plan`e*ta"ri*um (?), n. [NL.: cf. F. plan'etaire. See Planetary.]

An orrery. See Orrery.

 

© Webster 1913.

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