June 11, 2006

Homestar Planetarium Not Coming To The US Soon


One of the few things we did to "decorate" the kid's nursery--besides painting a couple of the walls a slightly dark royal blue below the thick, eye-level, wooden mouldings--was to stick glow-in-the-dark constellations all over the upper portions of the wall.

Looking back on it, the meticulousness with which we laid out the constellations was hilarious. My wife had picked up some sticker and templates kit from the NASA gift shop [she's a scientist at NASA]. First off, they're obviously meant to be put on a ceiling, preferably a dome vaulted ceiling. But for some reason, I got it in my head that the constellations [which I can barely even identify myself] needed to be in at least relatively correct placement with each other, so we spent a few hours planning, then balancing and sticking little phosphorescent buttons all over the white wall.

What a joke, because you can barely see them. The night light's been on almost constantly for two years, so it's never actually dark in the kid's room. But they're so small and faint, it's almost pointless. But the kid knows they're there now, and every once in a while, she asks for the light off so she can see her stars.

All a long buildup for this awesome-looking home planetarium from Sega Japan, which uses strong, cool LED's to project up to 10,000 stars on the ceiling. It can be set to rotate slowly, there's a sleep timer, and even a shooting star option. The rig was made for Sega by a famous-in-Japan planetarium designer named Ohira something. Although it's not clearly explained, it uses disc-shaped transparencies to project the northern or southern hemisphere's skies. It only requires a 10-foot span, which is perfect for Japan where...everyone...has...11-foot...ceilings. Huh?? Shouldn't it be optimized for, say, and 8-9' ceiling?

Anyway, the name, the Homestar Planetarium, was apparently decided by someone who's never seen Star Wars, never been on the Internet, and who wouldn't know an international trademark search if it bit him in the o-shiri. The price: $229US, to order from toys.brando.com.hk, via coolhunting and gizmodo]
Related: Homestar site [sega toys japan]
Very related: Japanese nursery 'home theaters'
Not at all related, except that it's the SAME NAME: Homestar Runner [homestarrunner.com]


Did you notice the portable one on their site?

It looks like it just uses a star-print film in front of a single strong LED light to product the pattern, but considering the cost, how bad can it be? " rel="nofollow">Toysrus Japan has it for only $10 or so...

I love love love Homestar Runner!!! xoxo

I guess the room should be pitch black for best effect, and ideally your ceiling should be dome-shaped. I wonder how this compares to the cheaper laserpod option of watching space nebulae (sp)?

[of course, every stargazer should have a dome-shaped ceiling in their home planetarium, but I just meant that the "correct" placement of constellations really doesn't amount to much when you're putting them on walls or in a corner. As for the Laserpod, I think it's a winner anywhere in the house.-ed.]

If you're observing from approximately the same viewpoint as the projector, it shouldn't matter if the ceiling is a dome or not, because both the projected image and your view of it should get exactly the same distortion, right?

And the 10' projection distance is probably okay, 'cause most of your ceiling will be at least that far away.

Oh, and also, because 10' is a mistranslation -- someone doesn't know their metric very well. The little diagram says between 2m and 2.3m -- which is between 6' 6" and 7' 6".

Anyway, I find your story amusing, because we're repainting the kid's room, and I was thinking of doing the exact same thing with the precisely-correct star position thing.

I picked one of these up and the wife and I love it! The shooting star feature is a bit tacky, but the image it throws up on our 10'x10' ceiling is brilliant.

I'm just a bit disappointed that the "Spring Edition" version came out shortly after my purchase. It features a 'color mode' that I reckon would accompany my Pink Floyd collection very nicely. ;)

now there is a new version...the homestar pro...even cooler with planets in color and a moon disk...and i like the metallic black body much better:

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