Spitz Virtual Institute 2020

July 20 - 24th - SciDome Presentation and Production Training

Join us in Chadds Ford Cyberspace

This year’s different. Enough said about that. We’re taking Spitz Institute online for everyone’s safety. We hope you’ll join us for a very 2020 edition of our annual training, professional development, and networking event.

You’ll notice a few differences from previous years. The cost will be lower, since we have fewer hard costs to cover. We’ll add sessions covering online presentations, in place of other usual topics that don’t translate well to online instruction. Rather than splitting the event over two weeks, we’re going to accommodate both beginners and experienced users during the same week, while separating the group into different tracks where appropriate.

But much remains the same! Courses cover curriculum and realtime planetarium demonstration for teaching, including a comprehensive introduction to Starry Night software. We’ll also explore production, digital audio, graphics, photo editing, and automation skills needed to create state-of-the-art educational programs.

We look forward to seeing you on our glowing rectangles.

Register Now

Registration is now open for Spitz Virtual Institute 2020.

Please register by July 3.


Spitz Virtual Institute registration is $125, which gets you access to participate live in all sessions on all skill tracks, as well as recordings of all sessions.

Dates & Times

Spitz Virtual Institute will take place online over five days, July 20-24, 2020, between 11am and 6:30pm US Eastern Time (8am – 3:30pm Pacific). Recordings will be provided to attendees after the event.

Sessions will be offered for users of varying skill levels, from brand new SciDome operators all the way through expert users.

What Will I Need?

We’ll provide you with SciDome Preview Suite software, which simulates your SciDome system, so you can follow along as we teach. You’ll need a computer that meets the minimum specifications in a location where you’ll be free of distractions, and a reliable internet connection.

After the event, the software is yours to keep for offline production and online presentation.

Who Should Attend?

If you’re an educator who wants to teach with the latest technology, you should attend. This includes:

  • Planetariums who want to share lessons and see what other presenters are doing
  • New SciDome owners
  • Operators who want to learn more about their SciDome

Hands-on Learning

During Institute, you’ll learn by doing. Most courses are hands-on. Software will be provided, so you’ll participate as you learn. Please check the Minimum Computer Specifications to make sure you have what you need!

Computer Specifications

To participate fully in Spitz Virtual Institute, you’ll need a computer that can run SciDome Preview Suite software. Please check the specs below – most modern computers will meet them.

Minimum Specifications

  • Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 processor (or AMD Ryzen equivalent)
  • 64-bit Windows 10
  • Windows user with Local Administrator privileges (this is unusual and important!)
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 30 GB free hard drive space
  • 1920×1080 minimum display resolution

Strongly Recommended Extras

  • Camera and microphone to interact with instructors and participants via Zoom
  • A second monitor (it will be difficult to follow everything on just one screen – you can get another 1920×1080 monitor for under $100)
  • A mouse, if your computer doesn’t have one – some users find Starry Night difficult to manipulate with a trackpad
Can I use a Mac?

Only if it’s running a native installation of Windows 10, either as the only installed operating system, or as a native boot option through Apple’s Boot Camp utility.

Virtualization options like Parallels or VMWare will not work for this purpose. It must also meet the minimum specs previously described.

Will my existing computer work?

Ask us! We’ll help you make sure it meets the specifications, so you’ll be able to jump right into the sessions – rather than fighting IT problems when you’re supposed to be learning!

We’re happy to work directly with your IT department if you’re using an employer-provided computer, and they have any questions or concerns.

Please contact us with any questions about your computer’s suitability.

Can I use a separate computer for Zoom?

Sure! For example, you might choose to install SciDome Preview Suite on a more powerful desktop computer, but use a laptop with a builtin camera and microphone for Zoom. Bonus: extra screen!

What about a tablet or phone?

Due to their small screen size, tablets and phones aren’t recommended for this purpose – it’ll be difficult to see what the instructors are doing.

Register Now

Registration is now open for Spitz Institute 2020. Please register no later than July 3.