A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Does Anyone Remember the Smithsonian Stellarium?

    Back in the day, around 1995, the Smithsonianís Air & Space Museum had an exhibit on space exploration with two standout sections. The first was a small theater playing clips from Empire Strikes Back to illustrate basic physics, with a claymation Albert Einstein as the guide.

    The second was the Stellarium, in a separate darkened alcove, which used fiber-optics to create a three-dimensional map of nearby space, with over seven hundred accurately positioned stars. It had a short voice narration that introduced a number of local stars, highlighted by flashing LEDs.

    It was exquisite, and the best museum exhibit Iíve ever seen for capturing both the scope and the serenity of interstellar space. But all exhibits must eventually close down, and now Iím wondering whatever happened to the Stellarium itself.

    Does anyone remember this? And does anyone know where it ended up?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Telonius's Avatar

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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Does Anyone Remember the Smithsonian Stellarium?

    Both of those were a bit before my time. I do have several friends working in museums and various other archives in the DC area, but unfortunately nobody at Air and Space.

    The Air and Space Museum does have a Contact email on their website. I can tell you that this sort of question is one that they would love to get - there's a decent chance that the person answering the email either worked on it or knows who did.

    For the Stellarium, I found a reference to it now being at a location in Delaware. The website looks pretty ancient, so that might not be accurate now.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Does Anyone Remember the Smithsonian Stellarium?

    Thanks for the suggestion, Iíd been planning to contact them. Iíve sent an inquiry to that address, but nothing back yet.

    As for the website, thatís Jeff Carlís old site. He and I corresponded for a while in the late 90s, but weíve been out of touch for a very long time. Heíd mentioned they might be transferring the Stellarium to Delaware, but I donít know if that move ever happened.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Jun 2015
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    Burbank CA
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    Default Re: Does Anyone Remember the Smithsonian Stellarium?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion, Iíd been planning to contact them. Iíve sent an inquiry to that address, but nothing back yet.
    If you do find out, please post the answer you get. It would be fun to know what happened to it.
    Another fine mess you've gotten me into....

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Telonius's Avatar

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    Default Re: Does Anyone Remember the Smithsonian Stellarium?

    Still curious about this one - Palanan, did you ever find any more?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Does Anyone Remember the Smithsonian Stellarium?

    Thanks for checking in, and indeed I did.

    Without going into detail, the Stellarium still exists and is in long-term storage. It took me a lot of effort to confirm that, and I still don't have the full story, but there's hope that one day it will be on display again.

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