Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A planetarium is a theater built for presenting shows about astronomy and the night sky.
Planetariums typically use a large dome shape for the projection screen, with inclined chairs for comfortable viewing "straight up". A large projector in the center of the dome creates the scene, using a number of movable projectors projecting the images of stars or planets onto the screen. The various projectors are geared to provide an accurate relative motion of the sky, and the entire system can be set to display the sky at any point in time.
Archimedes is attributed with possessing a primitive planetarium device that could predict the movements of the Sun, the Moon and the planets. The finding of the Antikythera mechanism proved that such devices existed already during antiquity.
The first modern planetarium projectors were designed and built by Carl Zeiss in 1924, and have grown more complex. Smaller projectors include a set of fixed stars, Sun, Moon, and planets, and various nebulae. Larger machines also include comets and a far greater selection of stars. Additional projectors can be added to show twilight around the outside of the screen (complete with city or country scenes) as well as the Milky Way. Still others add coordinate lines and constellations, photographic slides, laser displays, and other images.
In recent years, planetariums -- or dome theaters -- have broadened their offerings to include widescreen or "wraparound" films, all-sky video, and laser shows that combine music with laser-drawn patterns. The newest generation of planetariums have moved to a fully digital projection system, in which a single large projector with a fish eye lens, or a system of digital video projectors around the edge of the dome, are used to create any scene provided to it from a computer. This gives the operator tremendous flexibility in showing not only the modern night sky as visible from Earth, but any other image they wish (including the night sky as visible from points far distant in space and time).
The term "planetarium" can also be used to describe the projector itself, or other devices to illustrate the solar system, like a computer simulation or an orrery.
- Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois
- Artis Planetarium, Amsterdam 
- Cernan Earth and Space Center, Triton College, River Grove, Illinois
- Davis Planetarium  at the Maryland Science Center  601 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230
- Eise Eisinga Planetarium, Franeker, 1774
- Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science, (Boston, Massachusetts)
- Hayden Planetarium, at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, James Stewart Polshek , architect, 2000.
- London Planetarium, Marylebone Road, London - part of Madame Tussaud's
- H.R. MacMillan Space Centre , Vancouver, Canada
Some Planetarium Software
- 3DPlanetarium (Linux) (Obsoleted by Celestia)
- Celestia (Linux, Windows, Mac OS X)
- KStars (Linux)
- OpenUniverse (Linux, Windows)
- Starry Night (Windows, Mac OS X)
- Stellarium (Linux, Windows, Mac OS X)
- List of Planetarium Software
- International Planetarium Society
- List of planetariums worldwide
- List of American planetariums, by state
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