Mankind has always been fascinated by the world that surrounds us. From the passage of seasons to the mysteries of the deep, we have constantly strove to seek the truth about our existence. And one of the greatest areas of study and exploration has been the vast, silent expanse above us. For centuries, people across the planet have looked up and marveled at the night sky, pondering the stars and planets and wondering if life can exist elsewhere. Humans have utilized the heavens for a variety of purposes, from artistic inspiration and fortune telling to navigation and a potential home away from home. We’ve come a long way from a horseman using the moon’s light to find his destination to an astronaut making the moon’s surface his destination. And yet, one of the simple pleasures of life is still sitting back and stargazing.
But in modern times, the night sky isn’t always as accessible as it has been in the past. In many areas high levels of development have led to “light pollution”, a phenomenon in which artificial illumination from sources such as streetlights and buildings greatly reduces the visibility of stars and planets. In such places the sky appears to glow and seems “washed out”. Conditions such as these makes effective astronomical study a near impossibility. And for many, a trip to a planetarium could be a time-consuming and expensive alternative, especially if no such facility is nearby.
Fortunately, the dedicated individuals at Science First have a small solution that can make a big difference. In 1977 a middle school teacher figured that if a class couldn’t visit a planetarium, then a planetarium should be able to visit a class. And so STARLAB, the world’s first portable planetarium was born. This ingenious concept pairs a state-of-the-art analog or digital star projector with either an inflatable and durable standard or giant dome that can accommodate from 27 to 56 people. While a fan keeps the structure up at a comfortable temperature, viewers sit inside and learn about such diverse topics as how the sky looked during the Civil War, bird migration and ancient Chinese legends. Best of all, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist (or astronomer) to use a STARLAB - setup and operation is simple! Plus, the star projector and dome can be easily transported by just one person from home to classroom.
So don’t rely on lifeless textbooks or an old-fashioned overhead projector to bring the wonders of earth and space science to life - let Science First lend a hand. We’ll have you seeing stars in no time!