Sir Thomas Brisbane’s Stars

If you missed it, below is a link to a recent four-minute ‘The Great Day Out’ segment on the SEVEN TV Network about Sir Thomas Brisbane and his astronomical associations. The second half was filmed at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.

http://thegreatdayout.com.au/family/sir-thomas-brisbanes-stars

There were a couple of errors, e.g. the presenter referenced Brisbane’s observatory as the first in Australia. William Dawes had his setup from 1788 to 1791.

Still, is was good publicity for us and it reflected in attendances following it. Likewise my previous post with the TODAY show crosses earlier this week on the National NINE Newtork.

Featured in the SEVEN TV segment is the bronze of Sir Thomas Brisbane created by Peter Doran, shown here at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium last year. The bust is now in Brisbane’s City Hall.

Brisbane_Dornan

Mark Rigby
Curator
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National TODAY show at Brisbane Planetarium

It definitely wasn’t astronomy-friendly weather in Brisbane, Australia today, but we still had five national weather segment crosses from the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium on the Nine Network’s TODAY Show.

Because of Daylight Savings Time in some other states, it meant being at the Planetarium to meet the TV crew around 4am Brisbane time.

We couldn’t do a cross from outside because of the weather, so we did the first cross from next to one of the Apollo exhibits featuring the replica of Neil Armstrong’s lunar spacesuit and the 1/48th scale Saturn V.

The second cross was from some of the space exploration exhibits and the retired Zeiss Spacemaster projector.

The third cross was a challenge with real-time content on the dome in our Cosmic Skydome. Low light levels made it a challenge for the camera man and being too busy “flying” I was unable to get any photographs.

The fourth cross was with some meteorites and the weather presenter Natalia Cooper handling some meteorites and standing beside a 43.5kg Henbury meteorite.

The rain had stopped near the end of the TODAY show, so we were able to do the fifth and final cross from the Observatory.

It was all done at short notice, but it went well and we appreciate the national publicity.

Mark Rigby
Curator
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

APS2017 | Wollongong Science Centre & Planetarium

Great day of full dome shows and fun!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Earth Hour – Starry Autumn Nights

Saturday March 25th 2017 – 10th Earth Hour

The night sky – beautiful, mysterious and “infinite”. The band of the Milky Way made up of numerous twinkling points of light. Over the years the night sky has “disappeared” and its wonders lay hidden behind the glow of light pollution from growing towns and cities.

Ballarat still has good views of the Night Sky. Overseas visitors from Germany, Japan, China, England and elsewhere, are amazed at the amount of stars they can see. As Ballarat grows, good planning is required to keep our night sky dark. By preserving our forests and green corridors, by addressing the growing electricity bill that Councils have and by being inventive in how this can be done with regard to reduced street lighting in environmentally friendly new developments and refurbishment of old suburbs, funds can be diverted into other areas for use by the community.

6.00pm Star-be-cue – Bring your own picnic or have something from the 3rd Rock Cafe.

7.00pm:  Kinja- Ron Murray and Sarah James -The Kinja sound is an ethereal blend of Indigenous Australian and Celtic inspired moods.

Sarah and Ron feel that Kinja’s music unites their heritage. “People tend to be touched by hearing two musical cultures coming together and it seems to move people on that level “. Their haunting partnership of violin and didgeridoo transcends cultural differences.

Kinja--300x225

 

 

 

 

 

The stunning back drop for the music is be provided by Alex Cherney, with time lapse photography of the Australian Landscape, Ocean Beaches, ASKAP Telescope and Parkes Radio Telescope, the night sky at it’s best.

Alex Cherney is a keen astronomer and photographer at night, with a particular passion in wide-field astrophotography. Alex loves the challenge of time-lapse imaging of night sky because it shows the motion of celestial bodies in relation to the landscape and helps connect viewers with the night sky. Spending the night under the stars and then sharing it with the world is one of the biggest rewards for him.

Alex Cherney

Alex Cherney travels throughout Australia to photograph the most beautiful landscapes under the stars of the Milky Way and loves to connect ocean, land and sky in his work. His images and videos have been published in well-known astronomy magazines and books, and won prestigious Australian and international awards. Alex is an active member of Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society. He enjoys helping get people involved with astronomy at public and school viewing nights.

ACherney_03_Flinders_Aurora

 

 

 

 

 

8.30pm: Join us  at 8:30pm when the lights are switched off, to witness the beauty of the night sky.

More information   http://observatory.ballarat.net/events/event/earth-hour-2017-starry-autumn-nights/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

iDome for collection

There are three, 4m diameter, iDomes available to a good home. They are currently dismantled and available (free) for pickup from Argenton (near Newcastle). If anyone is interested please send me an email. First come best dressed.

image005

Shells only, not the projectors

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Bits and pieces

I haven’t contributed to this group for a while so here are a few bits and pieces.

Two exhibitions to look out for this year, both employing the 6m diameter, 8 x high resolution projector system that is DomeLab. One will be in the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, the other in the National Museum in Canberra. If you are interested in the subject matter feel free to drop me an email.

iDomes are still going strong, installed this at ECU two weeks ago, nice bright high resolution projector (excuse the ceiling, not finished yet).

ecu2

And finally, for those who may be interested in the opportunities of interactive movies in domes, I captured sheep shearing footage a few months ago from the Barossa valley (it’s tough work but someones got to do it). 360 interactive YouTube videos below, set the quality to high but even then it’s a poor representation of the originals which are 8000 pixels x 4000 pixel equirectangular projections, so a match to the creation of a 4K fisheye video.

If you are wondering what they are for, it is training of veterinary students. Obviously they can be interacted with online (as here), in domes such as the iDome, in cylindrical displays and of course head mounted displays.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

APS 2017 Conference Registration Now Open!

Registration for the APS 2017 Conference to be held in Sydney & Wollongong is now open!

Registration is via the Event Brite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aps-conference-2017-tickets-29962555811

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Farewell to Klim Churyumov

For all of us who were amazed at the results of the just concluded Rosetta comet mission, it is very sad to hear that Klim Churyumov, co-discoverer in 1969 of Comet 67/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, died this weekend. It was wonderful that he could live to see his comet close up thanks to the amazing Rosetta mission which just ended in spectacular fashion with both the Rosetta and Philae spacecraft now resting on ‘his’ comet’s surface. (Photo: Klim Churyumov at the International Planetarium Society 2016 conference in Warsaw in late June this year with myself on right and Martin George of Launceston Planetarium.) — Mark Rigbychuryumov

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spontaneous Fantasia

hi-res-rectangle-0003013At long last pioneering multimedia artist J-Walt is bringing his amazing show to Australia.  Spontaneous Fantasia is a live immersive reality musical experience that uses the latest in interactive computer graphics techniques to bring paintings to life.  J-Walt commences his first ever Australian tour at the Melbourne Planetarium on Saturday the 8th of October, followed by performances in Brisbane and Perth.

A computer animation artist who performs his art, J-Walt writes the software, composes all the music and invents complex techniques to render breathtaking virtual vistas right before your eyes while juggling between his drawing tablet and his joystick.

Unfolding in real time, Spontaneous Fantasia uniquely takes the audience on a virtual reality odyssey of fantastic worlds filled with 3D sculptures, dancing figures and landscapes all designed from scratch by one-man orchestra, high-tech wizard, J-Walt.

He has invented such interfaces as “The Anitar”, a guitar-like animation controller which integrates a joystick with a Wacom computer drawing tablet. He also uses a two-handed magnetic wand; a control box with buttons and sliders; a gaming joystick; and a two-handed game controller similar to those for Playstations and Xboxes – all of these will be connected to a powerful gaming-type PC – J-Walt single-handedly sucks the viewers into virtual worlds. He has performed for thrilled audiences around the US as well as in cities around the globe, including Amsterdam, Hamburg, Warsaw, Hong Kong, and India.

The LA Times said, “2006 technical Oscar-winner J-Walt Adamczyk says his art is almost like puppetry, but really his “Spontaneous Fantasia” is beyond words. Animated trippy landscapes, gestural shapes moving through 3-D graphic spaces — oh, just go.”

Tour Dates:
7th October    Melbourne     Melbourne Planetarium, Scienceworks
15th October  Brisbane         Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
22nd October  Perth               Scitech Planetarium

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IPS 2016 Conference

International Planetarium Society (IPS) Conference 2016

It is now some 3 weeks since I returned from the IPS2016 Conference in Warsaw and I really did mean to post some blogs on the Conference while I was there.  But somehow it all got to busy.  So here is my post on some of the Conference highlights.

IPS Conference Front

The 23rd IPS Conference took place from the 19th – 23rd of June, 2016 at the Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw.  This five day conference was attended by over 500 delegates from more than 40 countries.

IPS – Welcome Reception

The conference opened on Sunday the 19th of June with a welcome reception at the Copernicus Science Centre, this also coincided with the 5th anniversary of the centre (so there was a giant birthday cake). Following the reception the conference attendees were invited to be a part of a human star map. Apparently this had been done before when the centre opened and they decided to recreate the event. This involved giving everyone a small led torch and each a set of instructions / coordinates. While it might not have produced the most accurate of star maps, it was a lot of fun: Starmap

Human Star Map

IPS – Keynote Speeches

Professor Alexander Wolsczan is a Polish astronomer who is currently an Evan Pugh University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Pennsylvania State University, best known for his discovery of the first exo-planet in 1992. He gave a very interesting account of the history of the discovery of exo-planets and the techniques used to find them.

Professor Mark McCaughrean a Senior Science Advisor in the Directorate of Science at the European Space Agency (ESA) gave a fascinating account of Rosetta mission in which a space probe and lander module encountered the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014.

Museum Victoria Presentations

I presented a paper titled – Planetariums and Film Festivals, which was very well received. Many people had questions, and I swapped contact details with a number of participants interested in exploring this idea further.

Sponsor Demonstrations

The Sponsor Demonstrations at IPS2016 were quite different to previous conferences. The Demonstrations were restricted to one hour in length (as opposed to 3-4 hours in Baton Rouge).  This meant there were 10 sponsor demonstrations available to attend across 4 days.  This was great in that it allowed people to only go to the Sponsor Demonstrations that they really wanted to see.

The Sponsor Demonstrations took place in 5 different locations concurrently. So all of the conference participants were divided into 5 separate groups (designated by different colour lanyards).  The concurrent sponsor demonstrations took place either in the main planetarium dome, one of the two lecture rooms, or one of the two 20m portable domes that had been assembled for the conference.

These two domes were very impressive and had managed to survive savage winds (that had brought down trees) a day before the conference. Both domes used negative pressure, meaning that the dome surface inside was very good.  However neither dome had light locks on them.  During the conference, the organisers insisted on starting presentations on time, and to avoid light entering into these domes, would lock out anyone who was late.  On at least one occasion this included the person who was supposed to be presenting!  Given the nature of conferences and everyone’s inability to get to sessions on time, this was a bit problematic.Two Domes

Special Events

A number of special events took place during the conference.

Longest Day Cocktail Party – Monday the 20th of June.  During the cocktail party the entire Copernicus Science Centre was open for everyone to explore.

Night in the Domes – Tuesday the 21st of June.  The conference hosts were very keen to demonstrate how domes can be used for purely entertainment purposes.  For this they made the three domes different entertainment spaces.  The main dome in the Copernicus Science Centre ran a series of live classical music performances in the dome.  One of the 20m domes outside, became a chill out dome, featuring ambient music and visuals.  And the second 20m dome was turned over to a VJ for a full one techno dance party.  To make sure no one was going hungry they also arranged for a group of food trucks to be parked near the outside domes.  The dance party dome was quiet for a while, but eventually a few people started dancing, and soon there were some 40 people having a great time.  It was great to see people enjoying the space in this way.IPS Banquet

Conference Banquet – The conference banquet took place in an old warehouse in an old industrial complex called the Soho Factory. Within the complex is the Neon Museum and the Museum of Life Under Communism, both of which had remained open for the IPS participants.  Following the banquet the back section of the warehouse was turned over to a dance party.  The DJ for the night was a 77 year old lady apparently quite famous in Poland.  It really was quite amazing seeing some 150 planetarians going crazy on the dance floor.  This was without a doubt the biggest, best and most fun finish to an IPS conference ever.

Summing Up

As with all conferences, this was a great opportunity to meet new people, forge new friendships and foster established networks. Invaluable discussions covered everything from public outreach, show production through to planetarium technology.

Overall the conference facilities were excellent and IPS2016 was an fantastic opportunity for networking. It was also a lot of fun as the hosts put a lot of thought and effort into creating entertaining events.  Warsaw is a very easy city to navigate and there is a lot to see and do. Congratulations to the conference hosts, they did a spectacular job.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment