What is an inflatable planetarium?
Planetariums are large fixed structures which people travel to, to watch and learn about space. An inflatable or mobile planetarium replicates this idea but with the major difference that it can be easily transported to places where people already are, a typical example being a school.
Aside from the material that an inflatable planetarium is built from, the experience that visitors have is of a very similar nature. A great deal of the content that is shown inside an inflatable planetarium is the same as the content shown inside a permanent or solid planetarium.
Who are inflatable planetariums for?
They are very popular with schools, colleges or other groups. Their popularity comes from a few main reasons; firstly
Firstly, the experience that visitors who come to the planetarium have is fantastic. You enter a large inflated dome which is completely dark and then enjoy an immersive 360-degree learning experience that takes you on a journey through space! Many visitors report about what an incredible experience it was.
Secondly, it is very easy to arrange. You as an organisation do not have to arrange travel, book tickets, plan food etc. The designated person organising the trip simply has to arrange for the planetarium to come and then take along groups to enjoy the shows.
Thirdly, the price of a planetarium visiting you is a great deal cheaper than you taking groups to a fixed planetarium. The price per child for a mobile planetarium visiting a school is around £2. The price to take a child on a coach and then into a fixed planetarium would be around £10 to £15 depending on age and distance travelled.
How does an inflatable planetarium work?
They are a simple design structure which uses air to keep them inflated. Air is pumped into the dome and it is the weight of the material that stops the planetarium from blowing away. When the planetarium is full of air there are vents at the side which let out the excess. The effect is a perfectly shaped dome! The dome is made of two layers with the inside consisting of material which can be projected on to give a clear image. There is also a door which can be opened by zip to allow visitors to enter and leave.
Where can inflatable planetariums be erected?
The majority of planetariums need to be erected inside a building or marquee. Due to their lightweight nature and the fact they are not attached to the floor they could easily blow away with the wind. The perfect place to erect an inflatable planetarium is inside a school hall. However, there are some domes which are designed to be used outside.