Interactive Planetarium on Downtown Toronto UofT Campus

Interactive Planetarium on Downtown Toronto UofT Campus

hi my name is Mike Williams I work here at the University of Toronto for the Department of astronomy and astrophysics and I take care of the telescope's and I run the planetarium as well the planetarium is an inflatable planetarium that holds about 25 people I actually arrived in two very large boxes at the end of August of 2010 so it's only been a very short six months or so that we've been using it and so yeah it was it was a bit of a rush to get it all ready by September and actually have students coming through in September due to space requirements and budget and sort of buying an in-place planetarium we bought an inflatable planetarium so this is planetarium that's designed to actually be moved around to different locations so the planetarium itself is a large inflatable structure that's held up with air pressure and then in the centre of the room there's a digital projector which projects the the star fields onto the air onto the planetarium one of the great things that planetariums can do is they can show the relationships between objects and and how they fill space one of the main things we use it for is to show how planets move and how the motions that you see in the sky relate to the motions in the solar system we use it mainly for our undergraduate astronomy classes the big class that we use it for is astronomy 101 and 201 these are mainly art students and business students so one of the big problems they have is trying to actually visualize a lot of what it what's going on in astronomy so we use the planetarium to give them another another Avenue to try to do that visualization they get one session but it's about forty to fifty minutes depending on when people start and things like that so it's essentially fits into one tutorial section we can actually do many things we can show them the orbits of the planets so we do that especially in astronomy 101 which deals mainly with the solar system but a sonometer one actually takes them out of the solar system and so with the planetarium we can do that as well we can actually fly around the galaxy we have a 3d three-dimensional model of the galaxy they can look at and then even zoom out and look at a lot of the known galaxies I give a few of them but it's mainly given by a crew of TAS so generally we have somewhere between about three and five TAS and between them they do about 50 shows semester so one of the great advantages of the software which is called is it's a live live presentation software so as opposed to a lot of the digital domes that actually just use pre-canned presentations essentially they're showing movies on to a dome surface we actually have software that lets us move around the the solar system and the universe in real time so if someone asks you know what about Betelgeuse we can actually fly to Betelgeuse and talk about Betelgeuse and things like that so that's the great thing as we tend to tend to solicit a lot of input into the shows and so the shows that they get are very much tailored to the group that's there the other aspect of the planetarium is using it for outreach so one of the main parts that outreach is the first Thursday of every month the graduate students run our public tour night and as part of the public tour night they give planetarium shows which lasts about 10 minutes each and they do four shows throughout the night but then it's also used for schools schools can book the planetarium and come in and have their classes sit through about a 40-minute 250 minute presentation and under the presentation be given by a graduate student so an active researcher in astronomy so they have a good chance to actually talk to a real astronomer it's open to any school and we can actually tailor the shows very specifically to what they've been talking about in class or what the teachers haven't had a really good chance to tell the students

2 thoughts on “Interactive Planetarium on Downtown Toronto UofT Campus

  1. OMG ..what an idea ….not so resourceful & deprived segments of all the students from Asia Africa and South America ie 3rd world countries like India need such an astronomical experience to go about it pls mail
    [email protected]

  2. Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!!!!

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