24th International Planetarium Society 2018, 1-6 July in Toulouse, France

The organizational team for IPS 2019. Credit: ©Manuel Huyhn

Taken from the December 2015 Planetarian
Vol. 44, No. 4
pages 16-17, 36

So, after Baton Rouge in 2012, Beijing in 2014, and Warsaw in 2016, Cité de l’espace, Toulouse, will organize the 24th International Planetarium Society Conference, for the first time in France, a country where planetariums have been very dynamic for close to 80 years.

Hosting IPS 2018 will be a great opportunity for all delegates to enjoy a brilliant conference, and to discover many interesting places related to space and astronomy as well a beautiful part of Europe.

Cité de l’espace: One site fits all!
We believe our center has many assets to host an IPS conference, and this is why our proposal for IPS 2018 is to host the full conference within Cité de l’espace, so that delegates will enjoy four days fully immersed in a space and astronomy environment!

In Cité de l’espace, IPS 2018 delegates will enjoy:

  • Two planetariums with full digital projection
  • 2.500m2 of totally renovated permanent exhibitions, presenting space and astronomy in an innovative setting
  • The gardens, with real-sized objects like the XMM space telescope, Soyouz spacecraft, Ariane5, and the Mir station
  • An astronomical observatory opened in 2014 with a 16-in telescope and a solar telescope
  • A 3D Imax theatre, temporary exhibitions, and conference rooms and auditorium

Thanks to our two planetariums and flat screen cinema, delegates will discover, in comfort, the new technological developments offered by the planetarium industry.

A view of the garden at Cité de l’espace. Credit:©Manuel Huyhn

Inside the dome at Cité de l’espace:
Inside the large planetarium dome, the bigger planetarium has a 20m dome and 280 seats; its large gallery will allow for any new equipment installation for special demos. Beside it, the Stellarium is a 15m theatre equipped with fulldome video. It offers 133 seats for simultaneous demonstrations. Both theaters are tilted 10°. Using both theaters will allow more than 400 delegates to follow dome demos at the same time.

In addition to these two domes, a 300-seat Imax 3D theater with a complementary digital projection system will allow parallel flat screen presentations by vendors in a very professional way and with high quality conditions for everyone.

During the evenings of planetarium and flat screen demonstrations, delegates will also have the chance to visit our center, its gardens, and exhibitions, and enjoy sky observations thanks to our new telescope. While writing this article, the City of Toulouse, owner of the facilities, started the process of complete renovation of the largest planetarium, including brand new technologies, high definition projectors, and interactive devices in all seats.

Inside the dome at Cité de l’espace; Credit: ©Manuel Huyhn

Planetarium Live! IN and OUTSIDE the Dome
Planetariums play a very special role in the area of science engagement, by being familiar, beloved and securing places for many visitors. Still, in an age where access to knowledge and technology has totally being transformed, planetariums of all sizes are facing new challenges.

At the same time, the world of scientific culture is experiencing new trends, such as the use of big real data, the hackers movement, the makers and fablab culture, the increased use of social media — encouraging visitor engagement on often low-budget programs. How will these new trends affect (or not affect) the planetarium world?

For the 2018 conference, we would like to focus on “Planetarium Live! IN and OUTSIDE the Dome” and take it as the theme. Despite new technical improvements, interaction between the public and a “live” person is one of the keys to the success of planetarium shows.

The live action in the planetarium can be extremely varied. From welcoming our visitors and implementing the variety of shows in our domes to bidding them to return, the role of the staff in our theaters is fundamental in our profession. From theory to practical activities in and outside domes, we would like to explore altogether the variety and richness of human interaction with our diverse audiences, linked to our different cultures and habits.

IPS 2018 “Planetarium Live! IN and OUTSIDE the dome” will be the first international laboratory of best live practices under and outside our domes, in all their dimensions and diversities. In order to be able to fully explore this theme, we plan to dedicate one of our two planetariums to this subject, and to use it for live planetarium sessions during all the conference.
Our new astronomical observatory will also be used as a demonstration tool for possible associated activities, as could be the whole of la Cité de l’espace.

About Susie Murph

Susie Murph is a Communications Specialist at CosmoQuest. She also produces Astronomy Cast and the Weekly Space Hangout.

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