Spitz Blog

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Spitz Fulldome Curriculum Volume 3 Overview

Spitz Fulldome Curriculum Volume 3 Overview

I’m excited to announce that Volume 3 of the Spitz Fulldome Curriculum is being released to all SciDome users, and will of course be automatically incorporated into all future SciDome installations.  We thought that this ...
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/ / Constellations, Pop Culture
Football and Astronomy

Football and Astronomy

As the NFL season gets into gear (Go Bills!) it's time to mention football's deep connections with astronomy. The 1927 Broadway musical Good News, which gave us the popular song "The Moon Belongs To Everyone", ...
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/ / Software
Astrophysics Apps for SciDome

Astrophysics Apps for SciDome

Three long-awaited fulldome astrophysics apps created by Dr. David H. Bradstreet are now available for purchase and immediate download for installation on SciDome systems. Tides, Newton’s Mountain and Epicycles are selling for $200 individually or ...
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Roundness of the Earth

Roundness of the Earth

48 years ago last week Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. There is another anniversary last week that seems appropriate to mention at this point: On July 20th of 1925 the greatest scene in American ...
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Fulldome Eclipse Animations from Rice University

With the Great American Eclipse of 2017 fast approaching, many planetariums are looking for content elements to use in local programming about eclipses. Rice University, supported by a grant from NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium, has ...
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Simulating Juno's Buzz by the Great Red Spot

Simulating Juno’s Buzz by the Great Red Spot

One of the astronomical highlights of last week was the pictures returned by the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter when it zipped over the Great Red Spot at an extremely low altitude (8000 km.) Although the ...
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Upcoming Fulldome Curriculum Lesson: Titius Bode Rule

Upcoming Fulldome Curriculum Lesson: Titius Bode Rule

Volume 3 of the Fulldome Curriculum includes a lesson based on the Titius-Bode “Rule.” In this new teaching module we present the orbits predicted by the Titius-Bode relation in a historical timeline compared to the ...
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/ / Supernovae
Historical Novae and Supernovae on SciDome

Historical Novae and Supernovae on SciDome

Novae and supernovae are among the most energetic phenomena encountered in the galaxy. Planetarium educators can simulate a number of historical nova and supernova events on SciDome using Starry Night Dome Version 7. The following ...
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/ / Eclipses, History
Edison's "Tasimeter" and the Eclipse of 1878

Edison’s “Tasimeter” and the Eclipse of 1878

Witnessing a total solar eclipse could change your life. Unpredicted eclipses have changed the progression of historical events. The unexpected environmental effects of a sudden darkness at midday can be very unsettling to people and ...
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/ / Eclipses
The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 in SciDome

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 in SciDome

The appearance of a total solar eclipse is so singular that it is impossible to appreciate it without having seen it for oneself. Unexpected eclipses have changes history in the past, although they can now ...
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Great Comet of 1811 (1812?)

Great Comet of 1811 (1812?)

The May issue of Sky and Telescope magazine has a timely item about "Napoleon's Comets". The most important of these was the Great Comet of 1811, which was the brightest comet with the longest duration ...
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Ben Franklin's Birthday and the Gregorian Calendar

Ben Franklin’s Birthday and the Gregorian Calendar

Today is Benjamin Franklin's birthday under the calendar we use today, although he was born on the 6th of January of 1706. He was born before the Gregorian calendar reform was implemented in the English-speaking ...
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Messier Mischief

Messier Mischief

What's Up with the Pleiades Being M45? During a recent planetarium conference session, an interesting question came up about why the Pleiades is listed as M45 in Messier's catalog. Few people know the reason for ...
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/ / Orbits
Epicycles and Discovering Bad Theories

Epicycles and Discovering Bad Theories

Our ancestors were highly intelligent people who devised ingenious methods to model what they perceived to be reality in the skies. Unfortunately, they came at many of these observations with deep-rooted prejudices and a priori ...
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/ / Constellations, Time
Equinox: The Big Dipper Star Clock

Equinox: The Big Dipper Star Clock

The pointer stars Merak and Dubhe point at Polaris and go once around per sidereal day, every 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds.  By making a daily correction it is possible to estimate the ...
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Exploring Roemer’s Method for Determining the Speed of Light

Exploring Roemer’s Method for Determining the Speed of Light

In the 17th century the speed of light was unknown, and scientists questioned whether it had a finite value. Descartes argued that if the speed of light was finite, when we looked out into space ...
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Recreating Jupiter's Galilean Moons in SciDome

Recreating Jupiter’s Galilean Moons in SciDome

In many of our astronomy classes, we discuss the importance of Galileo’s first telescopic observations in eventually overthrowing the Ptolemaic geocentric system. His first observations were relayed to the public in his short book Sidereus ...
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tides1

Tides Revisited and Explained

A historical lesson in Volume 2 of the Fulldome Curriculum is the astronomical aspect of the Boston Tea Party. As we learn, Colonists, furious at the tea tax, tossed chests of tea into Boston Harbor ...
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pluto_analemma

Spitz Fulldome Curriculum – Volume 2

After years of development, Volume 2 of the Spitz Fulldome Curriculum has been released as a free supplement to all SciDome sites. The curriculum covers a wide gamut of subjects (see contents in sidebar) and gives ...
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/ / Fundraising
Fundraising for Digital Planetariums

Fundraising for Digital Planetariums

Planetarium technology isn’t the only thing that’s changed from the last heyday of planetarium installations in the '60s and '70s. 21st century fundraising is also a new concern for today’s educational planetariums. Today, a planetarium ...
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American History in the Planetarium

American History in the Planetarium

Some of the richest resources of astronomical events and history are the articles of Dr. Donald W. Olson of Texas State University at San Marcos. He has written on an incredible number of topics, including ...
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/ / Fundraising
Saving the Arlington Planetarium - A Fundraising Success Story

Saving the Arlington Planetarium – A Fundraising Success Story

We often hear about planetariums closing or cutting back due to lack of funding. The David M. Brown Planetarium in Arlington Virginia was one of them, until a group of local advocates got involved and ...
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Using Distance Spheres for Illustrating Stars, Black Holes, and the Speed of Light

Using Distance Spheres for Illustrating Stars, Black Holes, and the Speed of Light

Distance Spheres included in Starry Night allow “Cosmic Zoom” sequences in our domes. However, I also use them to show audiences scale sizes of stars, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, and the speed of ...
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