New Home

•July 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

It looks like the permanent home of the new Strickler website will be  If we’re not there now, we’ll be up in a day or so.  You can find this blog archived there as well.  This is the Skyblog, signing off for now!



•July 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Well, the moment we’ve been awaiting for has arrived.  Strickler Planetarium is now officially open!  Thanks to everyone who made our grand opening this past weekend such a success.  We had three showings of “Wonders”, and we sold out for every show.  Don’t worry though, we’ll be doing it again this Saturday at 6:00 and 7:30 PM and again next Saturday at the same times.  Now that renovations are complete and the planetarium is up and running though, this blog will be folded into the new Strickler Planetarium website.  I’m not sure what the final URL will be for the website, but for now you can find us at  We look forward to seeing you soon!  Stay tuned (to the website) for more shows and events.

A new look . . .

•June 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The able people at Marketing designed some new banners for the exterior of the planetarium.  We wanted something on the outside to reflect the changes on the inside.  We also wanted something that creatively illustrated the place of astronomy in the liberal arts.  These also feature the new Strickler Planetarium logo.

West (main) entrance

South entrance

East entrance

Grand Openings!

•May 29, 2008 • 1 Comment

We’re kicking off the unveiling of the new planetarium with a series of public shows featuring Evan and Sutherland’s “Wonders of the Universe“.  Look for an add in the Daily Journal, radio spots on Shine.FM, and some exciting additions to the planetarium’s exterior.  Here’s the summer’s schedule for public shows:

Olivet Faculty and Staff Grand Opening:
Friday, July 11th– shows at 7 and 8 PM

Public Grand Opening:
Saturday, July 12th– shows at 6, 7:30, and 9 PM

If you miss the grand opening (or see it and want to come back and show your friends), we’ll have public shows on the following two Saturdays, July 19th and 26th at 6 and 7:30 PM.

All shows include a full-dome presentation of “Wonders of the Universe” as well as a live tour of the night sky featuring the capabilities of the new Digistar 3.  Tickets are $3 per person.  Seating is limited to 50 people per show and there are no reservations, so be sure to show up early!  For more information, please call 815.939.5308.

A busy summer . . .

•May 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

We’ve got a busy summer ahead of us.  The planetarium is more or less officially “done”.  We’re one of only three planetariums in Illinois with digital projection capabilities, and we’re the only one that’s completely digital.  We’ve begun working with the marketing department here to start advertizing for our grand opening events.  As of right now we’re aiming to be open to the public on Saturday, July 12th.  More details about that as the date approaches . . .  In the meantime, we’ve been learning the new system and beginning the process of developing and accumulating content.  There are exciting things to see under the dome . . .

Digistar 3!

•April 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a while since the last post, but it’s been a busy while . . .  Last week the sound technicians from Bowen Technovations were here installing the new sound system and LED lights around the cove.  At the same time the technicians from Evans and Sutherland were installing and calibrating the new projector: our very own Digistar 3 SP2 HD!  After a semester of rennovation, the planetarium came to life.  It was a pretty busy place for a few days.

These are the computers that run the system.  The rack on the left is for the projector; the one on the right for the audio and lighting system.

Here are the projectors.  There are two lenses (the 2 in SP2), each covering half the dome.  Getting the images from the two projectors to blend properly and seemlessly is key.  This is a picture of them before the projector covers were in place.

Here’s the new mixer and light control box, which sits on the floor to the right of the console.  There’s a CD player in the bottom of the rack.  The mixer lets us control microphones in the planetarium (one at the console, two up front, and one wireless) as well as the overall sound levels. 

The best part of the new system (well, one of the best parts) is the way it’s simplified the console.  We’ve got a joystick, mouse, keyboard, and monitor.  (The laptop is not included, though an ultraportable PC that can be used to control the projector from anywhere in the planetarium is on the way.) 

The next step in the renovation process is learning how to operate the new system and training student workers.  Keep checking back for updates.  We hope to have a grand re-opening date set soon!

Almost done!

•April 1, 2008 • 1 Comment

Yesterday morning the seats were delivered.  They were soon followed by the workers from Irwin Seating, who unpacked them and installed our sleek, new, semi-circular, movie-theatre-style planetarium seating.  There are exactly fifty seats under the dome: five rows on the right and four on the left with an aisle down the center.  The seats in the front are slightly more inclined so that wherever you sit you have a great view of the dome.  I’m pretty impressed . . .  Now the only major pieces of the puzzle left are the digital projector itself, along with its accompanying sound system and the LCD lighting that will be installed in the cove.  It looks like we’ll be up and running by summer!

Christine models the new chairs

Looking toward the middle aisle (projector stand on left and new console on right)

New operator console

The planetarium’s youngest fans

The new workroom (with countertop)