How to Build a Planetarium from Scratch

How to Build a Planetarium from ScratchWhen: Friday, October 14, 10am – 4pm

Where: CERAS Building, room 108, Stanford

Wojtek Karcz (Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw, Poland)


In this workshop we will be building a fully operational planetarium from scratch. During the 5 hour workshop participants will make a big dome (6 meters in diameter) and DIY planetarium projector. The whole structure will be assembled using only basic tools (hacksaw, scissors, drill) and affordable materials. At the end of the workshop everyone will be able to visit the planetarium and attend a short show inside.

At the beginning of the workshop participants will be divided into several teams and each team will be responsible for a different part of the project – dome structure, dome coating, ventilation system, projection system. After completing work in teams all elements will be assembled together.

The main goal of this workshop is to show that building a planetarium is a great multidisciplinary STEAM activity for high school students. Thanks to the planetarium they can learn a lot about astronomy, physics, mathematics, engineering and programming in an interesting and engaging way.

This workshop will be led mainly by students from High School No. 1 in Słupsk, Poland. They took part in the IPS (International Planetarium Society) Conference in June this year and showed the international community of planetarians how they built their own mobile planetarium.

Workshop schedule:

  • Introduction and team creation:
    • The dome structure team
    • The dome coating team
    • The ventilation system team
    • The projection system team
  • Work in teams
  • Final planetarium assembly
  • First show inside planetarium
  • Summary and wrap-up