The general public's experience with the universe is often limited in space
and time, due mainly to general education and popular literature. The observable
universe beyond the thin slice of the visible spectrum is often overlooked.
Strikingly, newspapers and magazines, television and the internet, broadcast
almost daily news about discoveries in astronomy that have been made at radio,
millimeter, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths. How can
the public relate to these discoveries? And, how is the public expected to
be excited enough about these discoveries to support further research if their
understanding is limited to the visible universe?
The proposed project will develop a new portable planetarium program that will immerse the audience in the radio universe to give them first hand experience with a part of the electromagnetic spectrum they might not otherwise ever be aware of. The program will employ a radio view of the sky projected on the portable planetarium dome, and an accessory projector simulating a pulsar by flashing light, sound, and touch through beepers that the audience will be given. The program will be accompanied by a multimedia presentation that can be used beforehand in a lecture or class situation, or used in the portable planetarium itself. The multimedia presentation will also be available on a website.