This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
IDP: Portable Planetarium Outreach
Share |

Portable Planetarium logo

Calling all Mobile Domes:
Start Preparing Now for IDP 2018

Susan Reynolds Button
IPS Portable Planetarium Chair


I know that the next International Day of Planetariums—on 11 March 2018—seems a long way away, but we need to begin our plans now because 2018 will be our year to shine!

In the year of 2018, I suggest that we make this a World-wide Outreach Portable Planetarium Event! We can take advantage of collaborating among several organizations and with each other, with the help and direction of IPS, with these goals:

  • to honor and encourage the excellent work of mobile planetarium educators.
  • to promote IPS as a forum where mobile dome directors can learn from each other
  • to reward innovative approaches to science education in portable planetariums

If it is a successful event with many mobile domes participating, one issue of Planetarian will be dedicated to the fruits of the event with photos of children of every race, culture and age gracing the pages. Portable domes represent "grassroots" science education at its best, reaching remote corners of the world. You hardworking, wonderful portable outreach teachers will have your day in the sun!

To encourage your participation, there will be prizes for

  • The most unusual or remote (underserved) location
  • Children participating in unique lesson inside and/or outside the dome
  • Partnering with one or more other planetariums

Prizes will be awarded based on submitted photos and videos and the text of your narrative on the entry form.

Images will be compiled and mixed as a tribute to the importance of the mobile dome world, where live interaction reigns, and put on the IPS webpage and presented in our individual IPS affiliate meetings.

As our supportive IPS Past President Joanne Young exclaimed, "We need to elevate portables in the planetarium food chain. All of us know children. We buy them a million toys, but what do they go crazy over? A big box they can crawl in - Small, immersive environments. Would they prefer a gorgeous permanent planetarium or a portable? Would they rather sit in comfortable chairs with moving parts or on the floor? Where are they going to have the intimate interactions they crave? If you really want to turn young kids on to astronomy, get them inside a portable planetarium!"

If you are as excited about this plan as I am, start preparing now with your excellent talents and imaginations. You can prepare events for the week before, with International Day of Planetariums on Sunday 11 March 2018 as the culminating event or the IDP could be a kick-off for a week of special events following the international celebration.

Keep checking the IPS website for updates about the International Day of Planetariums:

Let’s focus on and celebrate mobile domes in 2018!


Contest Rules

  • Submissions must be received by 1 May 2018.
  • The event must have taken place during the weekend of the International Day of Planetariums, 10-11 March 2018.
  • It will be assumed that you give permission for all stories, photos, and videos to be freely published by the International Planetarium Society, both in print, online, and in future advertising. Please ensure that your national/local privacy laws are being followed.*
  • Awards will be announced no later than 20 May 2018.

You may submit your entry here.


First: $500 (all amounts are in US dollars)

Given to the planetarium that best meets the spirit of the competition in location, uniqueness, and partnering

Second: $300

The dome that does the best in two of the three categories

Honorable Mention (2 awards): IPS 2-year memberships (value: $100)

Outstanding achievement in one of the categories

The Pleiades Prize: $100

Several delegates at the October 2017 Pleiades National Conference in St. Louis donated the funds for this prize, given for outstanding achievement in one of the categories and the best photographs

Other prizes:

The fulldome video Solar System, A Wonderful Journey, donated by and 360 ART content creation studio in Russia, to a unique initiative with a digital planetarium. (Three-year, unlimited play license.)

A prize of up to one continuous hour of robotic telescope tour, guided by an expert; includes an interactive video experience with the ability to pose questions and get answers. Valued at $650; donated by Emerald planetariums, Bareket Observatory in Israel. This prize will go to a unique initiative with a mobile dome in a remote location (perhaps addressing an underserved population) and partnering with one or more other planetariums.

Additional vendor prizes to be announced

*Although photos taken at a public event and used for editorial purposes normally are allowed, some locations have stricter rules. Here is one site for more information (US only).

about ips | find a planetarium | officers | privacy policy

International Planetarium Society, Inc | c/o Ann Bragg, Treasurer | Marietta College, 215 Fifth Street | Marietta, Ohio 45750 USA