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Author: Subject: Planning to Build a Planetarium...
SteveWallace

posted on 15/11/17 at 09:46 AM Reply With Quote
Planning to Build a Planetarium...

Whereas my summer hobby is cars, my autumn and winter hobby is astronomy and I am a member of Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society (MSAS). We are fortunate enough to own an observatory that houses a 24" Newtonian reflecting telescope.

We have recently bought some land next door to the observatory that contains a disused underground Victorian reservoir. Our plan is to convert this into a 100 seat planetarium. We currently do a lot of outreach via public open evenings (next one is on the 25th November) and through group visits (Scouts, Cubs, Brownies, adult groups) and the planetarium will allow is to expand our offering and allow us to host school visits through the day.

This is going to be expensive to set up so we are going to be applying for grant funding (Lottery etc etc). To support this, we have opened up a public consultation on our website.

I would be grateful if folk could go to our website and complete the questionnaire. The link should be in the top news story on our home page. I know that we are very geographically spread on here, so if you support the idea but say no to the question about whether or not you will visit, when you get to the comments section at the end could you please say why (e.g. live too far away) as it will help with the analysis. By the way, if you say that you do not support the idea or that you would not visit then the survey skips some questions that are no longer relevant and jumps to the demographics section.

The website is here:

http://sherwood-observatory.org.uk/

PS If you know anyone else who might be interested, particularly if they live close enough to visit, could you pass this on to them please?

[Edited on 15/11/17 by SteveWallace]





"I know every nut and bolt and cog in that car, I built it myself" - The Prisoner, 1967

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nick205

posted on 15/11/17 at 10:07 AM Reply With Quote
Done the survey.
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shindha

posted on 15/11/17 at 10:17 AM Reply With Quote
Done
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McLannahan

posted on 15/11/17 at 11:13 AM Reply With Quote
Completed - sadly too far away to visit but good luck with the venture!
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swanny

posted on 15/11/17 at 11:14 AM Reply With Quote
i work at the uni and have some contacts in Physics and Astronomy. You probably have links already but let me know if i can help
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Mr Whippy

posted on 15/11/17 at 01:01 PM Reply With Quote
done

I really like planetariums the smooth dome ones are best, inflatable ones you can see the seams, kind of spoil the effect

100 people, sounds big

Remember doesn't always have to show the sky...make money doing movies too or even video games, simulators etc

I'm kind of a space nut too, named my oldest daughter Andromeda...

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SJ

posted on 15/11/17 at 02:14 PM Reply With Quote
Done.

I had a tour of the one at Bristol Science Centre a year or so ago. Very impressive!

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SteveWallace

posted on 15/11/17 at 04:11 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by swanny
i work at the uni and have some contacts in Physics and Astronomy. You probably have links already but let me know if i can help


Thanks for the offer. Prof. Mike Merrifield from the Physics and Astronomy department is actually one of our patrons but other contacts never harm. You've reminded me that we should get in touch with him and update him on progress.





"I know every nut and bolt and cog in that car, I built it myself" - The Prisoner, 1967

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SteveWallace

posted on 15/11/17 at 04:24 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
done

I really like planetariums the smooth dome ones are best, inflatable ones you can see the seams, kind of spoil the effect

100 people, sounds big

Remember doesn't always have to show the sky...make money doing movies too or even video games, simulators etc




Yes, we are aiming for a full spec, smooth domed one and we are in touch with a number of suppliers. They are not cheap, but its good to be ambitious.

Before my time, the members adopted a true locostbuilders approach to building the observatory. The building was made from material recovered from demolition of pit-head buildings when the coal mines closed in the area. The main support tubes for the telescope are recovered scaffold poles, and the sheet steel cladding around the mount were originally the coal mine road signs!

Agreed about showing things other than the sky.





"I know every nut and bolt and cog in that car, I built it myself" - The Prisoner, 1967

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SPYDER

posted on 15/11/17 at 09:52 PM Reply With Quote
Hi Steve. Many moons ago (ha ha) I had a planetarium. I found it languishing on a shelf at Anchor Supplies in Nottingham, in amongst piles of toasters, kettles, pans etc. that they had recently acquired from the Admiralty. They had little idea what it was. It was mostly complete but the ecliptic projector device was missing along with the lunar projector. I paid 30 for it. I had to source a suitable bulb but at least the switchgear and motor were OK.
It was a GOTO Educational Model E3. It stood about 2ft high. The main sphere about a foot across. Below it were a circle of individual planet projectors. Not very good ones. I contacted Armagh Observatory as I knew they had a GOTO projector. They gave me contact details for GOTO in Japan. I sent a FAX ( this was the 80's don't forget ) and was surprised to receive some brochures through the post within days. This was followed up a week later with a hand written instruction book and list of available spares. Amazing! It was intended for use under a 3 metre inflatable dome.
Since I live only minutes from Sherwood Observatory at one time I took it to show them and see if they would like to use it or just display it as SWMBO never liked it. Maybe they were too busy or something ( they were fitting out the 24" at the time) but they were a little indifferent about it.
To my eternal shame I sold it a few years on to a schoolteacher. I'll try and find photo and post it. I can't find a pic of the particular model anywhere on the net. I guess it was quite rare.

On a personal note, have we met at Headway? I was driving the red Spyder Silverstone. If there's anything I could help with let me know. Next time you're headed to Sherwood l'll pop over. I'll fill the survey in and pass the word.

Geoff.

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SteveWallace

posted on 16/11/17 at 01:01 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SPYDER

On a personal note, have we met at Headway? I was driving the red Spyder Silverstone. If there's anything I could help with let me know. Next time you're headed to Sherwood l'll pop over. I'll fill the survey in and pass the word.

Geoff.


Hi Geoff,

Yes, we did meet at Headway. If you have an interest in astronomy, maybe you should consider joining the club. We meet most Wednesday nights at the observatory.

The next open evening is 25th November from 6:45pm. We run these even if its raining as we have talks, demos and displays under cover, so there is stuff to do even if we cannot open the main dome. Of course, its more interesting with a clear sky.

I'll be at the observatory at the next open evening, so look out for me if you come along.

Steve





"I know every nut and bolt and cog in that car, I built it myself" - The Prisoner, 1967

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ken555

posted on 17/11/17 at 12:38 PM Reply With Quote
Survey Done.

We have a Planetarium at work, as we deliver RYA navigation course, along with various other marine certificates.

So might be worth seeing if any local yacht clubs would be interested in using it, as a source of income.






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SteveWallace

posted on 20/11/17 at 10:35 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ken555
Survey Done.

We have a Planetarium at work, as we deliver RYA navigation course, along with various other marine certificates.

So might be worth seeing if any local yacht clubs would be interested in using it, as a source of income.


I agree that its worth us having a think about other uses. My other thought for helping to cover running costs was renting the space out for corporate team days. They could use the space for the meeting and have a show over lunch or at the end. I was also wondering if university engineering departments might have a use for it.

Yacht clubs might be a stretch as we are about as far away from the sea as its possible to get (although maybe that's a benefit?). However, there is quite a big yacht club at Carsington Water, so its maybe no as much of a stretch as I first thought.





"I know every nut and bolt and cog in that car, I built it myself" - The Prisoner, 1967

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