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Planetarium Centennial Task Force
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Centennial of the Planetarium – we are looking for your ideas!

Dear fellow planetarians, artists, producers, and enthusiasts,

The first presentations using a planetarium projector took place in 1923. The 100th anniversary will be celebrated as a year-long, global series of events, targeting both the public and planetarians. The individual events will look back at the past 100 years, present what we have become, and highlight our plans for the future.

As a first step, we are collecting ideas on how to bring this anniversary to life, and which events and activities to hold during the Centennial year. Below, we list some preliminary ideas. This is not a final plan, but merely a collection of thoughts meant to inspire you to contribute your ideas!

  • Central dates of the anniversary are:
    • September 19th, 1923, when the first 'Mark 1' projector was fully operational for the first time, at the Zeiss factory in Jena, Germany. Even before this, first (partial) presentations with the 'Mark 1' took place at Zeiss in August 1923.
    • October 21st, 1923, when the 'Mark 1' was first presented in a closed session at Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany.
    • May 7th, 1925, when the first planetarium at Deutsches Museum opened to the public.
  • The Centennial could be held over a two-year period starting in August 2023 and closing in May 2025. Or it could be a 12-month period from Mid-2023 to mid-2024. We are weighing the options, but both would offer a huge opportunity for all of us to present us and our planetariums to the world!
  • There will be a motto or theme attached to the Centennial year. Two early suggestions are 'The Future' or 'Us and the Universe'. We are looking for more ideas and for your suggestions!

Year of the planetarium

  • The highest aim could be to propose a UNESCO 'Year of the Planetarium'. The avenue would be through a national government, as only nations can propose such theme years to UNESCO. The German government would be one obvious possibility, but we should pursue all viable alternatives as well.

Centennial Meeting

  • A central event of the Centennial should be a special gathering at one of the two historic sites: Jena or Munich.

Global celebrations on a special date

  • While planetarians could come together and celebrate during such a special gathering or at the IPS2024 conference, a separate global celebration event should be held on a special date, e.g. on Oct. 21st, 2023.
  • This will be a global event with domes around the globe participating at the same time, or at least on the same day. A vision for this event is that it is "handed on" from one planetarium to another, each presenting an individual highlight; with everything streamed or domecast to every planetarium in the world.
  • The events to be streamed or domecast might include short talks (~10min) by famous science speakers, live-streamed views from space and from special places around the globe, and novel Fulldome-visualized science highlights.

Public events throughout the Centennial period

  • A dedicated Centennial planetarium show could be produced, revolving around the relationship between the progress of astronomy and that of the planetariums from 1923 until today.
  • A Fulldome short feature about the history of the planetarium should be produced.
  • There could be a Centennial Fulldome Festival, perhaps aligned with the IPS 2024
  • A series of 100 domecasts could be held on 100 days of the Centennial period.
  • IPS could seek the creation of Fulldome art (e.g. short pieces) revolving either around the history of the planetarium, or the theme '100 years', or simply the theme '100'. This could happen in cooperation with one or more Fulldome festivals, and/or aligned with IMERSA.
  • IPS could provide media (trailers, logos, icons, taglines, ...) to "Centennial brand" any planetarium activities throughout the Centennial period.

Professional Development events throughout the year

  • A special gathering should be held at the historic sites, and the IPS2024 conference should have a focus on the Centennial (see above).
  • LIPS-like events all over the world ("Mini-LIPS").
  • We will involve all stakeholders (IAU/CAP, IMERSA, …) and plan special activities with them.

Activities in the media

  • We aim to publish a book about the planetarium and its history.
  • We want to present the planetarium and its history in a TV production: a movie, or a documentary feature.
  • … and many further media activities …

For each item, we seek your ideas! We would like broad and general suggestions as well as detailed and specific recommendations. We are also looking for novel thoughts that go beyond of what we have laid out above. We are looking forward to your thoughts and ideas! Please visit our workshop at IPS 2018 in Toulouse, or contact us at: centennial@gdp-planetarium.org

Best wishes to all of you,

Björn Voss

for the IPS Planetarium Centennial Task Force

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