A pocket planetarium in Second Life

I’m a space nut, both science-fiction and science fact; regulars to this blog will recognise this is the case simply via my Space Sunday column, and via the occasional sci-fi reference. So, when Kinn (Kinnaird) covers a planetarium in SL I’ve missed, it is somewhere I have to hop over to and see.

Space – a Planetarium, designed by Hazelee Haller, is located on Heterocera, not that far from the Unknown Theme Park in fact, which Caitlyn and I explored back at the start of July. It’s an interesting little place, offering what might be described as a more stylised approach to visualising the solar system. This is due in no small part to the planetarium occupying just 512 square metres of land – which is itself a remarkable achievement.

This stylised approach can be seen on the ground level, where mighty Jupiter sits within what can only be described as Saturn’s ring system (Jupiter’s own rings being far thinner and less well-defined). A teleport sphere located in one corner of the building will take you up to the planetarium proper.

Presided over by a huge Venus and Mars, the planetarium ins divided into two levels. On the lower are static displays of the major planets of the solar system together with their principal moons – although Phobos and Deimos are absent from Mars, possibly due to their tiny size. The planets and moons aren’t offered to scale relative to one another, but click on any one of them (other than the Earth), and you’ll be offered a link to their Wikipedia page.

Space - A Planetarium: the orrery offered aginst a black backdrop rather than the planetarium's sun-like interior, which Jupiter (upper right) and Uranus (left, centre) looking on

Space – A Planetarium: the orrery offered against a black backdrop rather than the planetarium’s Sun-like interior. The Earth and Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars can be seen orbiting the (not to scale!) yellow sphere of the Sun. These are offered roughly to scale with one another and in scale orbits reflecting their respective motions around the Sun relative to one another. Stationary Jupiter (upper right) and blue Uranus look on

The upper level, reached via a ramp between the two lines of gas giants and their moons, offers a little orrery-like model of the inner planets  – Mercury, Venus, Earth (and the Moon) and Mars all orbiting around the Sun. These all appear to be to scale relative to one another (although obviously, not to the Sun!). Beyond them hang further static models of Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn, which also appear to be to scale to the inner planets. In addition, the walkway on the lower level passes through the wall of the planetarium’s sphere to a platform offering a view of the sphere itself, which is textured on the outside with an image of the Earth.

Space – a Planetarium is a neat little pocket-size guide to much of the solar system, and certainly presents a way for those not well-versed in the planets around us and their major moons to become more familiar with them, without also getting overloaded with facts and information. Yes, it does lack some of the options which might be available on a larger parcel of land, but this doesn’t in any way lessen what is offered here; rather the reverse, in fact. It shows what can be achieved on even smaller parcels with limited land capacity.

SLurl Details

3 thoughts on “A pocket planetarium in Second Life

    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Thanks. not at all sure what happened there; once again an error creeps in when I fail to double check SLurls. Ho-hum. Corrected.

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  1. Hazelee Haller

    Thank you for this post about the Planetarium. Your use of “Pocket Planetarium” to describe this SL project is perfect. Pocket Planetarium — I love it.

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