Spitz Institute 2019

SciDome Presentation and Production Training - Chadds Ford, PA

Join us in Chadds Ford

SciDome users current and future, please join us for Spitz Institute, our annual training and skills development event.

Spitz Institute is divided into two sessions, with fundamental SciDome topics covered during the first session and more advanced concepts in the second. Attend one session or both, depending on your needs. We’ll explore planetarium education, with a focus on fulldome digital presentation for science learning.

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, photography, and automation skills needed to create state-of-the-art educational programs.

We look forward to seeing you at the Institute.

Register Now

Registration is now open for Spitz Institute 2019. Please register by June 28.


July 23 — 26: Comprehensive

For new SciDome users/educators, and those who would like to brush up on their overall skills, and teaching with the Spitz Fulldome Curriculum.

July 29 — August 1: Intermediate/Advanced

For more experienced users who’ve got the basics down, but want to delve deeper into the capabilities of SciDome.

July 28: Fulldome Show Viewings

Free, no registration required. View a variety of fulldome shows available for your SciDome. Refreshments will be provided.

I’ve attended science conferences for 30 years and Spitz Institute is the most rewarding of them all. Informative, challenging and the collegiality of Spitz created an environment of knowledge and inspiration.

Paul A. Karr

Professor, Wayne State College

What You'll Learn

Session 1: July 23 — 26

  • Starry Night and The Layered Earth: Detailed introduction to astronomy and earth-science simulation, covering basic software functions and settings. Perfect for new SciDome owners.
  • Comprehensive Introduction to Automation: ATM-4 automation, including an introduction to The Layered Earth, basic show scripting.
  • Multi-media: Photo editing, audio, and panorama creation for the digital planetarium. Displaying slides and videos on the dome.
  • What Your Colleagues are Doing: Lessons and demonstrations from various planetarium sites showing how they approach space and earth-science education in the dome.
  • The Fulldome Curriculum: A detailed look at the Spitz astronomy curriculum – how to understand and present a diverse variety of topics.


Session 2: July 29 — August 1

  • Intermediate and Advanced Starry Night: Unique effects, animation, and operator enhancements for advanced astronomy presentation.
  • Customizing the Software: Intermediate and advanced courses that teach how to access custom features and settings.
  • What Your Colleagues are Doing: Lessons and demonstrations from various planetarium sites showing how they approach space and earth-science education in the dome.
  • The Fulldome Curriculum: A detailed look at the Spitz astronomy curriculum – how to understand and present a diverse variety of topics.


Who, What, and How Much

Who Should Attend?

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

  • Sites considering a planetarium upgrade or a new facility
  • 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, attendees have many opportunities to learn by doing. Most courses are hands-on. Software for your laptop is provided, so you’ll participate as you learn.

Computers and Software

To install and run Spitz Institute software, you’ll need to bring a 64-bit Windows laptop computer with at least 50GB of free hard drive space and 6GB of RAM, and you’ll need to be able to log into Windows as an administrative user.

Please contact us with any questions about these requirements.


  • Session 1, July 23 – 26: $395
  • Session 2, July 29 – Aug 1: $395
  • Session 1 + Session 2: $685

If you’ve attended a four- or five-day Institute session before, you’ll receive a $50 discount when you register.


Travel & Hotel


Driving: Spitz, Inc. is located at 700 Brandywine Drive, Chadds Ford, PA 19317, within easy driving distance of much of the eastern seaboard. Ample free parking is available both at Spitz and at the host hotel, so driving is a good solution if you’re near enough.

Flying: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is about a 30 minute drive from Spitz. We’re available to help with local transportation to and from the airport during certain dates and times. Contact us to arrange airport transportation.

Shuttle: Spitz will provide a van from the Staybridge to the Institute at the beginning and end of each day. Guests staying in other area hotels must provide their own transportation.


We’ve secured preferred rates for Spitz Institute attendees at Staybridge Suites, located at 400 Evergreen Dr, Glen Mills, PA 19342, less than a mile from Spitz. The hotel is a short walk to several restaurants including P.F. Chang’s, Ruby’s, Duffers Pub, and others.

Staybridge Suites provides complimentary breakfast buffet each day, and a light supper every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evening with free wine, beer, soft drinks, and hot & cold food items. Each room has free wired/wireless internet, plus kitchenette.

Staybridge Suites Institute Rates:

  • Studio suite: $109 per night, plus tax
  • One-bedroom suite with two doubles: $135

These rates expire on July 8, so please book soon!

Reservations: 610-358-2560. When reserving, mention “Spitz Summer Institute 2019.”

Online: Staybridge Reservations. Use Group Code “CDP“.

Visiting Historic Chadds Ford

Chadds Ford is a quaint historic township settled in 1707 in the Brandywine Valley. Known for its world-class museums, restaurants and attractions, it’s a short drive to nearby Philadelphia and PHL Airport.

Chadds Ford is the site of the historic Brandywine Battlefield, and home to many inns, restaurants and antique shops.

Spitz, Inc.

Staybridge Suites

Brandywine Museum

Longwood Gardens

Chaddsford Winery

Penns Woods Winery

Brinton 1704 House

Brandywine Museum
1 Hoffman’s Mill Rd, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Phone: 610-388-2700

Exhibiting American art in a 19th-century grist mill, the Brandywine River Museum is internationally known for its unparalleled collection of works by three generations of Wyeths, America’s most celebrated family of artists.


Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348

Phone: 610-388-1000

The world’s premier horticultural display garden, Longwood Gardens offers 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows; 20 outdoor gardens; 20 indoor gardens within 4 acres of greenhouses; 11,000 different types of plants; spectacular fountains, and performing arts events. Longwood attracts more than 900,000 visitors annually.


Chaddsford Winery
632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Phone: 610-388-6221

A renovated 17th century colonial barn, Chaddsford Winery began its conversion to a small premium winery in 1982. Tour the wine making and barrel aging cellars, taste the current vintage, browse the gift shop, or picnic on the outdoor deck and grounds. With a wealth of rave reviews, Chaddsford produces 30,000 cases a year, and sells to selected restaurants nationwide.


Brinton 1704 House
21 Oakland Road, West Chester, PA 19382

Phone: 610-399-0913

The Brinton House is a restored Quaker home built in 1704, and is one of the oldest and best-restored houses in the country. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968.


Penns Woods Winery
124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Phone: 610-459-0808

Penns Woods Winery features a tasting room and wine shop atop a 30-acre property that overlooks rolling vineyards. Great for a picnic or a tasting. Wines range from light and fruity Traminette and Sauvignon Blanc to Italian-style Bordeaux’s.

Register Now

Registration is now open for Spitz Institute 2019. Please register no later than June 28.