A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation.
Celestial navigation, also known as astronavigation, is the ancient art and science of position fixing that enables a navigator to transition through a space without having to rely on estimated calculations, or dead reckoning, to know their position.
Astronomy, a natural science, is the study of celestial objects and processes, the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects and processes, and more generally all phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth.
Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers, typically actors or actressess, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage.
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A dominant feature of most planetaria is the large dome-shaped projection screen onto which scenes of stars, planets and other celestial objects can be made to appear and move realistically to simulate the complex 'motions of the heavens'.
An astronomical object or celestial object is a naturally occurring physical entity, association, or structure that current science has demonstrated to exist in the observable universe.
A dome is an architectural element that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere.
A planet is an astronomical object orbiting a star or stellar remnant that
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The celestial scenes can be created using a wide variety of technologies, for example precision-engineered 'star balls' that combine optical and electro-mechanical technology, slide projector, video and fulldome projector systems, and lasers.
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation.
Video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media.
A slide projector is an opto-mechanical device for showing photographic slides.
Whatever technologies are used, the objective is normally to link them together to provide an accurate relative motion of the sky.
Typical systems can be set to display the sky at any point in time, past or present, and often to show the night sky as it would appear from any point of latitude on Earth.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets, and the only astronomical object known to harbor life.
In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the Earth's surface.
Planetaria range in size from the Hayden Planetarium's 21-meter dome seating 423 people, to three-meter inflatable portable domes where children sit on the floor.
An inflatable is an object that can be inflated with a gas, usually with air, but hydrogen, helium and nitrogen are also used.
The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a part of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Such portable planetaria serve education programs outside of the permanent installations of museums and science centers.
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance and some public museums make them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary.
Science centers or science centres are science museums that emphasize a hands-on approach, featuring interactive exhibits that encourage visitors to experiment and explore.
The term planetarium is sometimes used generically to describe other devices which illustrate the solar system, such as a computer simulation or an orrery.
An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system that illustrates or predicts the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons, usually according to the heliocentric model.
The Solar System is the gravitationally bound system comprising the Sun and the objects that orbit it, either directly or indirectly.
A computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out an arbitrary set of arithmetic or logical operations automatically.
Planetarium software refers to a software application that renders a three-dimensional image of the sky onto a two-dimensional computer screen.
Planetarium software is application software which allows a user to simulate the daytime and nighttime sky on a computer.
The term planetarian is used to describe a member of the professional staff of a planetarium.