Frequently asked questions are divided into two sections:
How many people fit in the dome?
Capacity will vary with the size and maturity of students. The Standard dome has a recommended capacity of 27 people, the Giant dome has a recommended capacity of 56 people. The Digital Domes range from 15 to over 100 students.
What kind of room do I need to set it up?
STARLAB should always be set up in an open space such as a cafeteria, gym, multipurpose room or large classroom. The height of the Standard dome is 10.5 feet while the Giant dome is 13.5 feet. You should allow at least 6 inches above the dome for a ceiling with fluorescent lighting and 12 inches above the dome for a ceiling with incandescent lighting. The Standard dome requires a room with a minimum of 21 x 21 feet; the Giant dome requires a room with a minimum of 27 x 27 feet. There should always be a clear path out of the STARLAB and it should not block any exits. Although the fabric is flame resistant, STARLAB should never be set up near an open flame, incandescent lighting, radiators, space heaters or other heat sources.
How long does it take to set up and take down?
About 15 minutes after you bring the boxes in you will be able to say “please come in” to the students. At the end of the day, if you can leave the planetarium in place on the floor, then only about 5 minutes is needed for the dome to deflate. If you are putting it away, then about 15 minutes to collapse the dome and stow everything back in the duffel bag and cases.
How do I get in? Do I have to crawl?
You enter through the larger of the two tubes connected to the dome. The kids love to crawl in but anyone can get in by merely bending over and walking through the entrance tunnel.
How heavy is it?
The heaviest box is the one holding the projector: about 40 lbs which includes the Astronomy and More notebook. The dome weighs about 45 lbs. The fan and case weigh about 22 lbs.
Is it handicapped accessible?
Because of its unique design, the STARLAB can accommodate visitors who are restricted to wheelchairs, have walkers or are otherwise physically challenged. Instead of having these individuals use the entrance tunnel, they can enter and exit the planetarium by going in and out under the edge of the dome. To do this, you will need a second person to assist you. Individuals who are physically challenged should be brought into the dome before the rest of the visitors. Once the entire group has been seated, back the wheelchair into the opening of the entrance tunnel. In this way, they will be able to see everything without blocking the view of other visitors. (We only recommend this in this particular situation.) When the program is over, move the wheelchair out of the tunnel and place it next to the projector.