Pittcon Planetarium

Our portable planetarium was purchased by the Pittsburgh Conference for the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh to use in our outreach programs.

Our planetarium demonstrations allow students to observe the sky, various constellations and individual stars or planets from any point on the surface of the earth at any year or time of day. We can tailor these demonstrations to any age (K-12).  The individual sessions (25-35 students) are typically 30 to 45 minutes in length, depending on the number of sessions per day, or school schedules.

The planetarium “igloo” is 14 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter, (see photo to right), so we typically set up in gymnasiums and need access to an electrical outlet (to run the fan, computer and projector).  We can be setup in ~ 1 hour and torn down in ~30 minutes.  There is no charge for this outreach program.

Pittcon Planetarium Lessons and Presentations

STARHOPPING: Learn about the sun, planets, stars and constellations. This is our most popular lesson.

OUR SOLAR SYSTEM: Learn details about our Sun, planets, Earth, orbits, asteroid belt. View our solar system from 500M and 1B miles away from our Sun and close up discussion of each planet.

THE HELIOSPHERE: Learn about/discuss our heliosphere, which protect us as our solar system travels through our galaxy. Lesson contains a 23 minute movie shown inside dome.

Teacher Guidelines

    The Pittcon Planetarium is no cost to you.  Our show typically this involves two presenters.
    We bring planetarium, setup (~1hr), run presentations, tear down ~(30 min).
    We can accommodate up to 300 students/presentation day. We will only come in exceptional instances for less than 100 kids.
    The presentations are for 30-45 minutes in length.
    The planetarium will accommodate up to 40 students per presentation. 
    A schedule should be sent, if you would like different presentations for different classes and/or grade levels.  The schedule should note the grade level for each time period.
    A teacher must accompany each group of students in the planetarium.
    The room, in which the planetarium will be inflated, must have a ceiling height of at least 20 feet.  An auditorium stage or gym works best for the presentations.
    Set-up takes about an hour, so those presenting will need to be admitted to the building before the first presentation to allow for this to occur. 
    School name, address, and directions should be given.
    In case of an emergency or problem, a direct telephone number (i.e. cell #) of a contact person is required.

Our Process

    1. Planetarium dates are reserved on first come first served basis, assuming above criteria are met, and we have an opening.
    2. We acknowledge receipt of presentation requests via e-mail and indicate the availability of your proposed date(s).
    3. When an open date is agreed upon, We will issue a HOLD (of the date) for the requester.
    4. At least one month in advance of agreed upon presentation date(s), we match up presenters from our Pittcon Planetarium Committee.
    5. Once presenters are matched to the show date, We re-confirm the presentation and communicate the presenter information to the requestor.
    6. We reserve the right to cancel presentations in the event of the following:
         –  An equipment failure (we only have one planetarium)
         –  Inability to present (i.e. illness, severe weather, or other event impacting availability of presenters). Thus far, incidents like this have been rare, but sometimes things happen that is beyond our control.

Request the Planetarium for Your School

Please fill out the request from. We will be in contact to confirm your request and make the necessary arrangements.

If setup location will be anywhere other than a gymnasium, please note that the planetarium dome is 14 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter. Access to an electrical outlet is required to allow operation of fan, computer and projector.