Our Place in Space:
2:30 p.m.

  One would think that Great Britain’s mercantile navy was recruited solely from her orphan asylums—which we know is not the case.  

The Pirates of Penzance, Act I

Pretty soon it looks like a snake and an elephant are the same size, and we know they are not.



  1. Video projector: monitor select line 1, input select line 2 for Windows XP computer. Brightness and contrast up.

  2. Windows XP computer. VCR off so that DVD doesn’t interfere with iMicro. Plug iMicro into LINE-IN 2 of video projector. Clear the papers off the mousepad. On the desktop, drag the “DragOntoStarDraw” icon onto the “StarDraw” icon. Select the pencil tool, set foreground color to white. Select the straight line tool if desired. Aim the iMicro at the StarDraw window. Then switch Video projector to input select line 1 for laser disc.

  3. Laser disc: cue disc 4, chapter 7.

  4. DVD: OPIS CD. Do not press PLAY/PAUSE yet.

  5. CD: Chromatics AstroCapella.

  6. Sound board: volume up for output, CD, and DVD (to –18; Marc raises it to –10); down for all others.

  7. Orrery: Heliocentric (up) observer north (up), sun, moon, planets on (up), speed halfway up, brightness down, power off.

  8. Zeiss: setup according to comment lines in DVD-OPIS.CUE: current sky, sun late afternoon because sunset at line 474 is fast. Celestial objects off, white and blue lights on.

  9. Spice computer:

  10. Slew (projector R): when lines 67–69 of the setup section of DVD-OPIS.CUE light it up, raise unlabeled switch to left of the Manual/Auto switch. slew hard left, halfway up dome. Speed about 9:30 or 10:00 on dial. Then back to automatic, leaving the power on. First used in line 300.

  11. Zoom (projector T): when lines 72–76 of the setup section of DVD-OPIS.CUE light it up, make it large, dial at 5:00. Leave zoom on automatic. Used in line 275.

  12. Audience enters when line 112 Time 19.70 of DVD-OPIS.CUE is highlighted. Once there, do not press the Spice ↓ again.

The show

Make all diurnal motion forward. Line numbers in DVD-OPIS.CUE:

  1. Launch the show by pressing PLAY/PAUSE twice on the DVD. The SMPTE time codes on the DVD will advance the Spice computer.

  2. When Sheba the cobra displays the big word ROTATION, laser disc chapter 7 (already cued).

  3. When Indy the elephant uses a melon to explain the earth’s rotation (“facing away from sun”), laser disc chapter 12 when spinning earth slides fade.

  4. When Indy the elephant goes to get a snack and Scarlett the macaw flies off, dim video, turn on Zeiss sun, set it, and turn on the stars.

  5. When pencil scratch is heard, stop Zeiss motion, video projector input select line 2, brightness and contrast up, XP computer StarDraw file. Then dim down, return to input select line 1 for laser disc. Close application, don’t save.

  6. When Paula the polar bear says “star pictures that everybody all around the world recognizes”, turn on Zeiss zodiac and diurnal motion. Turn them off when crossword puzzle appears.

  7. When Scarlett the macaw flies off, spin stars in diurnal motion.

  8. When Scarlett the macaw says “I think I’ll take a short break from flying and rest here”, halt diurnal motion and turn off zodiac.

  9. When Captain Leo’s rocket goes up, pulse the red cove light and turn Zeiss latitute knob counterclockwise to make stars go down. Later, bring stars back up.

  10. When Captain Leo says “earlier you learned that the Earth is a planet”, orrery power on and fade in.

  11. When Captain Leo says “pay attention, because we’re going to move fast”, orrery fade out and power off.

  12. Laser disc chapters. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are slides, not laser disc chapters.
    1. Sun: Chapter 25
    2. Mercury: Chapter 21
    3. Venus: Chapter 22
    4. Earth: Chapter 8
    5. Mars: Chapter 23. Then come the asteroids, which have no chapter.
    6. Jupiter: Chapter 27
    7. Saturn: Chapter 28. Must fade Saturn to make room for Uranus slide (line 568).

  13. When galaxy appears (not the nebula at line 585), turn off stars.

  14. When galaxy disappears, turn on stars and spin Zeiss with traveling music. Latitude knob clockwise to restore original setting.

  15. When jungle reappears, stop Zeiss.

  16. Pause the DVD right after the closing credits disappear, and take a few minutes to talk about the sky for that evening. Don’t turn off stars and leave them in the dark. Zeiss white and blue lights while exiting. Then turn VCR back on, restore Zeiss latitude.


Scarlett macaw
Sheba cobra
Indy Indian elephant
Paula polar bear
Charlie Chapman crocodile
Crusty Croc crocodile
Captain Leo lion

“Our Place in Space” Links

  1. The Sudekum Planetarium (Nashville, TN) wrote the show.
  2. crossword puzzle
  3. teacher’s guide
  4. teacher’s guide
  5. study guide
  6. laser disc program