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June 2019 IPS Communicator
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IPS Newsletter — Issue 2 — June, 2019


The new African Planetarium Association

We are very pleased that the IPS council has voted to approve the application for a new regional affiliate, the newly-formed African Planetarium Association! Planetariums are greatly underrepresented in Africa. Strengthening and expanding the African planetarium community has been a top goal of IPS and our Emerging Communities Committee, led by Dave Weinrich. The establishment of the African Planetarium Association is a big step forward towards alleviating that inequity.
The APA President is Susan Murabana Owen from Kenya. Other elected officers are: Lucia Marchetti from South Africa,past president/advisor; Nico Van der Merwe, also from South Africa, treasurer; and Yinka Ajiboye from Nigeria, secretary.

From APA President Susan Murabana Owen: "In March 2019 planetarians from across Africa met and decided to form the African Planetarium Association-APA. We are very excited that APA is an affiliate of IPS, we look forward to sharing our African stories with the rest of the world and are certain that IPS will be instrumental in supporting us."

Election of IPS Board Members

Nominations are now open around the world for IPS Board Members, who will commence office in 2020. These nominations close on 2019 August 1. Go to for complete details.

Mark your calendars
Week in Italy

A deadline to remember:

31 July. Deadline for the applicants of An Experience in Italy for American Planetarium Operators, a great professional development opportunity. See full details on the "Week in Italy" page.

Asteroid Day is coming up on 30 June. Do you have plans made yet to take part or tune in?

On the Moon Again!
On the Moon Again Logo

On July 12 and 13 2019, join a celebration of 50th anniversary of humankind's first step on the moon. It is a worldwide event to enable everyone, young and old, to discover the moon through an astronomical telescope. You have an astronomical telescope? Set it up on a sidewalk, a park, along the side of a river, on a village square. Surprise passers-by by offering them this unexpected sight. It's really just about the most dramatic and inspiring thing one can see through even a small telescope.

For more information:
Website -
Facebook -
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What is a Zoominar?
zoominar logo

A Zoominar is a web seminar and a professional development opportunity rolled into one nifty online educational opportunity. Formerly called Planetarian's Web Seminars, the next Planetarian's Zoominar will be held on 28 June with the topic "Use Music in your Planetarium ... Legally."

Chris ReedThe presenter is Chris Reed, a Los Angeles-based lawyer specializing in intellectual property, First Amendment, antitrust, and commercial litigation in the media and entertainment industry. He writes and speaks frequently on legal issues, including the "General Counsel" column for Planetarian from 2005-2009. His book The Unrealized Promise of the Next Great Copyright Act, will be released in October 2019 from Edward Elgar Publishing.

Many planetarians ignore the copyright issues surrounding the use of commercially available music in the planetarium, while others, fearing the unknown, simply avoid using music in their productions. Still others believe, erroneously, that so long as a facility is covered by licenses from the likes of ASCAP or BMI, they are free to use music in their shows.

Get some expert knowledge and have some of your questions answered in the zoominar. Time: 3:30 pm PDT, 4:30 pm MDT, 5:30 pm CDT, 6:30 EDT, 22:30 UT. To find out how to connect to the zoominar, see

A tactile book of South American eclipses
Braille map

Tiffany Wolbrecht and Dave Hurd with Hurd's newest tactile book.

The path of totality for both the July 2019 and December 2020 solar eclipses will trek across Argentina and Chile! To assist with details surrounding the eclipses, NASA has partnered with IPS member David Hurd, planetarium director at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and Cass Runyon from College of Charleston, South Carolina to write, design and produce a tactile book. The book, Abre tus Sentidos a Los Eclipses, Sudamérica highlights eclipses in general and the 2019 and 2020 eclipses specifically, through text and tactile diagrams.

“Although specifically designed for use by those with visual impairments, it is our desire,” says Hurd, “that the books be used long after the 2019 and 2020 eclipses to both educate learners about the intricacies of eclipses and assist in teaching geography of Central and South America.” Hurd also noted that the books have been found effective in regular classroom settings.

The tactile map showing the paths of totality through Chile and Argentina also include a labeled map of Central and South America. In the accompanying text, readers can find a description of each country that will assist in teaching basic geography.

Hurd noted, “this was a really fun project to work on as we had to concern ourselves with the accurate translation of the text to Spanish, and also the accurate translation of North American Braille to Spanish Braille! It is really exciting to be able to offer individuals who are blind and visually impaired in different countries the same resources we have made available to those in the United States.”

The books were completed in April and delivered to the Chilean and Argentinean Embassy in Washington, DC for shipment to the respective countries. Special assistance was provided by Dr. Beatriz García, who serves as the research director in astronomy and astrophysics to the Instituto de Tecnologías en Detección y Astropartículas in Argentina, and Valentina Rodríguez, who serves as the outreach coordinator in Chile to the Giant Magellan Telescope.

This week's new videos
Celebrate Apollo

More videos in the IPS Apollo video project are ready to download. 

This week, Anthony Vespa, a window tester, is featured in the FLORIDA TODAY videos. 

From Lunar Legends, we have Tim Dunn, who looks at the future of space and the commercial crew program launches, and Lee Solid, who wonders about technology and how the Apollo program influenced it.

Just a reminder: All videos are accessible to IPS members. Non-members are able to download two videos only. Go to the Apollo People page for full details.


Reports from the field: events scheduled for the Apollo anniversary

  • The Museum of Flight in Seattle is hosting the exhibit “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” now through September 2, 2019. The exhibit is a partnership with the Smithsonian, and the Museum of Flight is the only West coast location. A highlight is the historic NASA Apollo 11 command module, Columbia. From the link below: “Visitors can see the spaceship up close like never before, and can explore its intricate interior with an interactive 3-D tour created from the Smithsonian’s high-resolution scans.” There’s more at
  • The Wings Over the Rockies Museum in Denver has a huge week-long event scheduled 13-20 July called “Apollopalooza 2019”.  Programs, speakers (Harrison Schmitt, Gene Kranz, Joe Engle), a screening of the movie Apollo 11, and much more. Go to


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