top of page

GLPA Papers, Posters, Workshops

Papers, Posters and Workshops by Chuck Bueter, presented to the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA)


Text and images of the following papers, posters, and workshops are by Chuck Bueter.  PDF excerpts from Proceedings of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) are courtesy of the GLPA, with much thanks to Proceedings Editor Dale Smith.


GLPA 2015-First Midnight: Celebrating History Through Starlight

Abstract: As South Bend, IN, celebrates its sesquicentennial (dubbed SB150) in 2015, the First Midnight initiative recognizes that half of all history has occurred between sunset and sunrise. A variety of community projects during the anniversary year embrace the night sky, with the poster topics including Crosswalk, an anniversary starfield painted on the road; Birthday Star, featuring the star Eltanin in Draco at 150 light years away; Scope Out South Bend, a scavenger hunt with Galileoscopes loaned by libraries; SB150 Young Astronomers, a project in which local youths operate a global network of telescopes; and 2015 Outreach, a list of other astronomy outreach in the context of the SB150 celebration.  Details at


GLPA 2014-Tale of a Comet

Abstract: Anticipating a potential celestial spectacle, our community celebrated the unique sungrazing Comet ISON with all-school assemblies, art exhibits, music events, guest speakers, planetarium shows, a scavenger hunt, viewing with telescopes, social media, lots of dry ice comets, and more.  The South Bend Community School Corporation embraced the comet's approach yet recognized science doesn't have preordained outcomes and that the comet may not survive perihelion.  Details at


GLPA 2013- Workshop: Comet Activities

Abstract: Two workshops at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) in Peoria, IL, featured comet-related activities for educators. The presentations paralleled the author’s recent experiences at all-school assemblies in South Bend, IN, which is having a Comet Festival to celebrate the uncertain outcome of Comet ISON. The GLPA workshops concluded with each participant making a dry ice comet ( This paper offers a sample outline for public or school or group demonstrations, with links and resources within


GLPA 2012- A Community Celebrates the Transit of Venus

Abstract: Astronomy educators and enthusiasts near the Michigan-Indiana border embraced the 2012 Transit of Venus as a community celebration. Among the diverse components were a planetarium program, a treasure hunt, a lecture series, a symphony performance, a newsletter, a motor coach tour, original videos, art exhibits, historical displays, public outreach events, Sun Funnel workshops, social media initiatives, related products by small businesses, multiple observing opportunities, and a time capsule.  This talk parallels the interactive prezi Transit of Venus Across the Sun at


GLPA 2012: Transit of Venus Time Keg

Abstract: In past centuries,  observers of transits of Venus have written messages for future witnesses of the celestial phenomenon.  During and after the 2012 transit of Venus, spectators reflected on and shared their experience for their 22nd century counterparts.  The written personal records and other transit of Venus artifacts from 2004 and 2012 will be sealed in the Transit of Venus Time Keg, a stainless steel time capsule made from a beer keg.  Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) members can contribute their messages at the GLPA 2012 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, where the Transit of Venus Time Keg will be sealed, bringing closure, literally, to this popular and historically significant solar system alignment.  A commemorative plaque celebrates nature's celestial spectacles, and invites people to open the Time Keg after 100 years as the 2117 and 2125 transits of Venus approach.


GLPA 2011-  __Days Until the 2012 Transit of Venus (ASP?)

Abstract: Prepare now for the 2012 transit of Venus.  As June 5, 2012, approaches, anticipate a surge of public interest in the last transit of Venus in our lifetimes.  Framed by the content at, this poster offers a brief historical perspective, will highlight abundant educational resources, and will suggest hands-on activities to bolster your transit of Venus planning.


GLPA Sun Funnel Workshp (Text)

Workshop prepares for the next transit of Venus on June 5, 2012, with emphasis on practicing safe observing techniques.  Each participant made a safe viewing device, dubbed a Sun Funnel, and was made aware of the times, places, and techniques to view this celestial alignment.


GLPA 2010 Spitz Lecture: Enthusiasm Flowing in the GLPA Watershed

The transit of Venus is a featured topic in the 2010 Armand Spitz Lecture at the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) 46th Annual Conference.  (MP3 audio version)


GLPA 2009- A Collective Gaze at the Stars.pdf
Abstract: A planetarium serves its community by leading a vast yet genuine science experiment to quantify how much of the night sky has been lost. Thousands of students, teachers, and parents celebrate the 2009 International Year of Astronomy by conducting citizen-science after astronomical twilight, then build explanatory models out of gelatin and colored blocks. See for details.


GLPA 2007- Year(s) of Dark Skies.pdf

Abstract: The Year(s) of Dark Skies workshop introduces the 2009 International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) and U.S. programs that will address the theme “Dark Skies are a Universal Resource.” Several in-dome demonstrations illustrate glare, light trespass, and sky glow while allowing learners both to discover the dark sky issues and to propose action to minimize the impact of outdoor lighting. Workshop participants will simulate the Globe at Night program, a Cornerstone Project of the worldwide IYA2009 effort, and will get insight on using Sky Quality Meters available for free to successful applicants. Supporting material is at


GLPA 2005- IPS Update.pdf

Abstract: The International Planetarium Society (IPS) continues to advocate the interests of the planetarium community. Abbreviated 2005 updates on the poster address IPS Strategic Planning, the IPS Star Partners Fund, the Armand Spitz Planetarium Education Fund, the 2006 IPS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, the IPS Statement on the Ancient Age of the Earth and Universe, the 2005 IPS/Eugenides Scriptwriting Competition, and other relevant news.


GLPA 2005- No Starfield No Planetarians.pdf

Abstract: Imagine a world with no starfield, with no planetarians. In the modern era, a diligent, ubiquitous power imposes its will on the realm of astronomy, keeping in check the language of centuries. Astronomy terms that have endured the ages are now routinely challenged by a tireless arbiter of legitimacy—namely, the software “spell check” feature on which we often rely.


GLPA 2005- Planetariums as Conduits.pdf

Abstract: The NASA Explorer Institutes (NEI) initiated a series of workshops and focus groups to identify strategies to implement effectively the NEI goals and objectives. In January 2005, The Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) jointly conducted a focus group entitled Planetariums as Conduits to NASA’s Target Audience. The GLPA/GRC focus group results, which specified seven action items to the mutual benefit of NASA and planetariums, were incorporated into the larger NEI survey. NASA subsequently announced $1.2 million in internal funding opportunities for informal education programs.


GLPA 2004- Conquering Venus in Transit.pdf

Abstract: “Venus, vidi, vici,” or something like that. Events preceding June 8th prepare for the 2004 transit of Venus. Featured snippets include an art exhibit, teacher workshops, liaisons with troops deployed overseas, musical performances, community talks, an exhibit of artifacts, two busy websites, and a planetarium program. Local events in Mishawaka, IN, embraced the transit with overnight telescope viewing, live webcasts, media coverage, solar-filtered and H- alpha telescopes, Transit of Venus Sunrise Ale, and community spirit. See www. for images and resources.


GLPA 2004- Astronomy Camp for Kids.pdf

Abstract: AstroCamp immerses kids in stargazing and telescope observing at YMCA Camp Eberhart in Three Rivers, Michigan. By day the kids make star finders, practice using telescopes, marvel under a portable planetarium, build water rockets, track sunspots, and seek astronomical treasures on a scavenger hunt. By night they direct a dozen 8-inch telescopes skyward, find deep sky objects, identify stars and constellations, and earn awards. Guest astronomy educators are welcome to join the fun.


GLPA 2004- Images of Venus in Transit.pdf

Abstract: A collection of images celebrates the 2004 transit of Venus, including views from solar observatories, spacecraft, and other Great Lakes gatherings. See for multiple perspectives on this event.


GLPA 2004- The Analemma Project.pdf

Abstract: By marking the sub-solar point on a fixed globe through 12 months, you can trace out the Sunʼs figure-eight-shaped analemma—a cheap, easy, long- term observation project. See for details and images.


GLPA 2004- IPS Update.pdf

Abstract: The International Planetarium Society (IPS) is at an organizational crossroad as it considers major restructuring to address challenges of the evolving planetarium community. Meanwhile, expanding IPS services continue to benefit members.


GLPA 2003-Transit of Venus Workshop- How to Make a Must See TV Screen.pdf

Abstract: On June 8, 2004, Venus will transit the Sun—a phenomenon so rare it has not been witnessed by any human now alive. We present an inexpensive device with which a group of people can safely witness a magnified view of the transit of Venus. Observers can also use the rear-projection device to track sunspots without risk of eye injury. See for instructions and supporting images.


GLPA 2002- Transit of Venus 2004 June 8.pdf

Abstract: Witness a celestial event unseen by any human now alive. A transit of Venus will be well underway on June 8, 2004, when the Sun rises in the eastern United States. Observers may see the waning minutes of the transit, the third and fourth contacts, the “black drop” effect, and other rare spectacles. Coupled with stories of past expeditions to time transits, this 2004 highlight is an excellent opportunity for the education community. See the Transit of Venus page at Paper Plate Education for details (


GLPA 2001- Astronomy Foundations Through Art and Paper Plates.pdf

Abstract: The poster exhibited at the 2001 SEPA-GLPA Conference introduced Astronomy Foundations Through Art & Paper Plates (AFTAPP); the Paper Plate Education website at; and the Paper Plate Astronomy videotape. The AFTAPP workshops will fuse multicultural storytelling with recent astronomical discoveries to generate modern interpretations of the constellations through artistic renderings and paper plate activities.


GLPA 2000- Video Excerpts of the Platisphere.pdf

Abstract: A demo videotape that is in production shows excerpts of the construc- tion and use of a paper Platisphere. Variations of the device, which shows the circumpolar stars visible at any given time or date, include a children’s version, a tactile version, and an astrophotography version. GLPA members are asked to evaluate the sample footage shown at the conference.


GLPA 2000- Planetarium Learning and Teaching Opportunity-PLATO-Grants.pdf

Abstract: NASA Office of Space Science will fund at least fifteen awards of up to one thousand dollars each for planetarium-based projects that enhance the public’s appreciation and understanding of astronomy. Proposals submitted for Plan- etarium Learning And Teaching Opportunity (PLATO) grants, which are being offered only to GLPA members and persons affiliated with GLPA member insti- tutions, must be postmarked by February 16, 2001.


GLPA 1999- Paper Plate Update.pdf

Abstract: Innovative GLPA members contributed the displayed activities for a Paper Plate Astronomy compilation. More ideas are being sought.


GLPA 1998-Making a Paper Plate Planet Projector for Portable Planetariums-P6.pdf

Abstract: In this activity, portable planetarium users make an inexpensive, hand- held device that transfers the two-dimensional drawing of the planets in orbit around the sun to a projection of solar system objects in the planetarium sky.


GLPA 1998- Making a Paper Plate Rainbow Finder.pdf

Abstract: In this activity, rainbow seekers make an inexpensive device which illus- trates that the primary rainbow is seen about 42 degrees up from the antisolar point, or up about four fists stacked above the top of the shadow of the viewer’s head.


GLPA 1997- Bad Moons Rising.pdf

Abstract: Children’s picture books often depict the moon inaccurately. In display- ing over three dozen examples of erroneous illustrations and/or writing, this poster calls on planetarians to improve the pool of children’s picture books.


GLPA 1997- Free Materials and Services from NASA.pdf

Abstract: From NASA, educators can obtain free space shuttle tiles for dynamic classroom lessons, can borrow exhibits ranging from Apollo spacesuits to large- scale space shuttle models, and can arrange for an on-site visit by a mobile aero- nautics laboratory. A sample letter of inquiry and contact information are pro- vided.


GLPA 1997- Making a Salad Spinner Zoetrope.pdf

Abstract: This poster demonstrates how a zoetrope-like device can be made from an inexpensive salad spinner and an old Digistar calendar.


GLPA 1997- Starlab All-Sky Projectors.pdf

Abstract: A simple device that holds a clear plastic cup over the projection lamp allows Starlab operators and students alike to design and to project their own all- sky images.


GLPA 1996- Paper Plate Planet Pointer.pdf

Abstract: In this activity, observers determine where and when to look for planets by converting celestial coordinates or elongation tables in Sky & Telescope maga- zine into a paper plate model.


GLPA 1995- The Altitude of the Noon Sun Varies by Season and by Location.pdf

Abstract: The altitude of the noon Sun varies by season and by location. In this activity, students make a paper dial to demonstrate visually the relationships between the date; the altitude of the Sun at transit; the observer’s latitude; and the altitude of Polaris.


GLPA 1994- Moon Dials and Paper Plate Models.pdf

Abstract: Moon dials allow users to determine when and in which direction the moon can be seen in any particular phase. In this activity, the audience will make their own paper plate models of the moon phases to learn how the moon dial works.


GLPA 1992- Twinkle Twinkle Variable Star.pdf

Abstract: Science comes alive for high school students in a hands-on, minds-on program at Adler Planetarium. Students use observatory equipment to conduct research on variable stars.

bottom of page