Losing the Dark to Light Pollution

Help Educate your Audiences about Light Pollution

Losing the Dark posterWe’re losing sight of the Milky Way, due to light pollution. Those of us in the planetarium community know this innately. So do astronomers, outdoors enthusiasts and others who appreciate the night sky.

There’s now some verifiable scientific evidence for the amount of light pollution out there. The folks at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science put together a study of light pollution and its effects on night sky visibility. They used high-resolution satellite data and precision sky brightness measurements. What they came up with is the most accurate assessment yet of the world-wide impact of light pollution. Their report is called The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness. It shows where the skies are brightest due to unnecessary or unwise use of lights at night. It’s a call to action, or at least a call to do some serious thinking about how we light up our cities, towns, and countryside.

Educating the Public through Dome Exposure

Most of you know that we at Loch Ness Productions have long advocated mitigating light pollution. Since we now live in an area with reasonably dark skies, we’re among the lucky ones who CAN see the Milky Way at night. We think more people should be able to do so, too.

That’s why we got involved with the International Dark-Sky Association some years ago. In 2013, the group asked us to make a video about light pollution. The result is Losing the Dark. It’s available as a free download in both fulldome and flat-screen formats. Many fulldome theaters have it, and we hear all the time about how the flat-screen version is used in public policy and education presentations.

As the story about the loss of the Milky Way percolates through the public consciousness, please feel free to use this video to help facilitate the conversation with your audiences. It’s available in 17 languages and is a powerful way to educate our audiences about the creeping effects of light pollution.


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Incoming! Bring Impacts to your Dome!

The poster for "Incoming!"We’re excited to bring you the latest fulldome show from the California Academy of Sciences Morrison Planetarium: Incoming! It’s a hard-hitting look at how collisions have shaped our planet.

This original show explores the history of bombardment throughout the solar system, but particularly on Earth. There hasn’t been a time in our planet’s history when it wasn’t a target for something coming in from outer space. It was a major target throughout its formation, through a period called the Late Heavy Bombardment (which ended about 3.8 billion years ago).

Accretion and bombardment are how our planet grew, but impacts also affected our planet’s early atmosphere, and water-rich asteroids may have contributed to the buildup of Earth’s oceans. At least one major impact is thought to have contributed to the conditions that wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. So, it’s understandable that humans are VERY interested in knowing what else is “out there” posing a threat to our planet and our lives.

Bringing Incoming! To Life

Incoming! is narrated by acclaimed actor George Takei (best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek franchise, and his work on the stage, including the recent play Allegiance). In a press interview for the original opening, show writer-director Ryan Wyatt suggested that Mr. Takei’s familiar voice helps deliver somewhat frightening news in a way that reassures viewers.

Of course, no California Academy show would be complete without cutting-edge visualizations. In this show, they bring real-time data from current NASA missions to explain how collisions have shaped our world and others. This includes a look at the Chelyabinsk event of 2013 and the path the asteroid took as it encountered our planet.

Incoming shows near-Earth objects that cross our orbitRecent discoveries of near-Earth objects (NEOs) “out there” cut a little TOO close to our planet. News of the Chelyabinsk fireball brought fears of planetary catastrophe home in a very visceral way. These appear in our skies frequently, although most of them are caused by rocks that are too small to do much damage when they hit the surface. As members of the public share their fear of cosmic catastrophes based on these events, this show can help worried planetarians answer some of those queries.

Assessing the Risks

Today, groups ranging from NASA scientists to private foundations are busily observing NEOs. Their data helps assess what dangers are posed.

Meteoroids and asteroid chunks aren’t the only things that slam into the surfaces of solar system worlds. Comets leave behind evidence of their passage through the solar system that eventually finds its way to Earth as meteors. But, they can also be impactors themselves, as we’ve seen numerous comets hit Jupiter or disappear into the Sun.

The concept of debris raining down on Earth is not always a comfortable one to consider. Most material that makes it through our atmosphere doesn’t pose much of a risk. But, there ARE objects out there that do. The more we know about them, the better prepared we are to figure out ways to deal with the monster impactors that come along every so often. Once your audiences have seen this show, they’ll come away with a much better understanding of the role of impacts on Earth—and elsewhere in the solar system.

Check out Incoming! and see if it’s right for you!

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The Cosmos of Fulldome Content

Last month, we added a new show from Melbourne Planetarium called Starlight to our catalog of fulldome content. It’s a very worthy addition to an amazing repertoire of shows; the 38th show we acquired for distribution, joining 14 of our own fulldome creations. And, we have more coming!

With so many titles available, Mark set out to create updated sampler showreels. Now we have three available for you to peruse (simply click on the images to get to the samplers).

LNP Blast!

LNP Blast!

These are the feature-length shows we’ve made ourselves over the years and still popular with fulldome theaters. They feature carefully crafted scripts, original soundtracks, and — in some — celebrity narrators who bring extra cachet to the shows.  We’re rightly proud of these shows, and pleased that so many fulldome theaters around the world have acquired and continued to run them!

LNP Collaborations Blast!

LNP Collab Blast!

This reel features shows we’ve collaborated on with other producers. These include astronomy and entertainment pieces that continue to dazzle audiences around the world. Depending on what the shows have needed, we offered our expertise to their producers to refine narrations and scripts and add original music. We’re very pleased to be associated with these fine producers and their wonderful shows.

LNP Distribution Blast!

LNP Distrib Blast

These are all the other fine shows we distribute. We scour the world’s festivals, looking for shows for our curated collection of fulldome content.

They’re all available to preview online, using players on our YouTube channel, or Flash players here on our site if your institution’s nanny filters block streaming videos.

They’re also available for download, so you can play them on your fulldome system and see how they look on your dome. Bring in your administrators and give ’em a taste of which shows you want to order next!

Whether we supply music and soundtrack expertise, script editing or voice-over work, we’re incredibly pleased to work with such talented colleagues on fulldome production and distribution.

From Astronomy to Zoology in Fulldome

As you watch the clips for all of the shows blaze by, you’ll marvel at the incredible breadth of content that’s available for fulldome theaters. The most popular type of content in the market covers astronomy and space-related topics. That’s only natural, considering the history of the planetarium theater. About three-quarters of the shows we make available are in that category.

Fulldome show Dream to FlyHowever, there’s so much more. As you watch the videos, you’ll see music and arts entertainment. We have a show for children on how atoms and molecules work. Other shows cover biology, climate science, geography, geology, history of flight, oceanography, and zoology.

How do we find these offerings? For the past few years, we’ve traveled to fulldome festivals to see what’s “out there”. It’s been a privilege to witness the premieres of some amazing showsand think to ourselves “Wow, planetarians will love this!” That’s when we know we’ve got something lovely to add to our catalog.

For example, the gorgeous and elegant Dream to Fly, one of our favorites, combines history, art, and drama to teach audiences the history of flight. It got a standing ovation at its first showing at the Jena Fulldome Festival in 2013, and it never fails to touch the audience’s emotions with its beauty.

Or, another of my favorites, the elegant exploration of exoplanets in the Boston Museum of Science’s Undiscovered Worlds. Their latest show, From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA, is a tour de force that takes you inside the U.S. space agency to see things most people never get to experience, and it’s been recently updated with the latest Pluto findings.

Fulldome show Bella GaiaAs domes continue to expand their repertoires, I hope planetarians will consider adding more music and art pieces — Chaos and Order, Magic of the Otherworld, MUSICA, and Bella Gaia. Or, even to have some fun with the SpacePark360 offerings we have. All these presentations prove you can have fun in the dome, enjoy a beautiful experience AND learn something, all at the same time!

I could go on and on about the wonderful shows we have in the Loch Ness Productions catalog, as well as on our sister site FULLDOME OnDemand. There’s a big wide cosmos of content out there! Check out our showreels and trailers to see for yourself!


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