Proposal

No annual report

Introduction

Proposal ID 2015-019
Submitted January 14, 2015
Owner nmhw
Department Astronomy
Category Collaborative
Funding Status Partially Funded
Metric Score None

Contacts

Primary
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Nicholas Hunt-Walker
  • Graduate Student
  • nmhw@uw.edu
  • 206-543-2922
  • Box 351580
Budget
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Stan Vlcek
  • Astronomy Department Administrator
  • stan@astro.washington.edu
  • 206-221-7295
  • 351580
Dean
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Ron Kline
  • Director of Computing
  • arkline@uw.edu
  • 206-543-6366
  • 353765

Descriptions

Abstract

The University of Washington's planetarium has been a focal point for student development and community outreach for the Department of Astronomy over the years. Since it was digitized in 2010-11, the UW planetarium has seen a surge in usage on an almost daily basis, integration into student development initiatives, and has been the site for events on scales from small groups of individuals to consecutive sessions of packed seating. To continue this legacy of involvement and student development, we propose outfitting the planetarium with up-to-date computers and projection equipment. This new equipment will allow the planetarium to continue to keep pace with the rapid development of digital planetarium software, both open source and private, and serve both the graduate and undergraduate communities for years to come.

Category Justification

The STF committee has funded planetarium upgrades in the past (see proposal 2005-030-1). We believe our proposal fits most accurately within the collaborative category, because the planetarium facilitates the interaction of astronomy undergraduate and graduate students with each other and the entire campus community. The STF 2014 RFP states that funding proposals under the collaborative category “should be for equipment that is novel or scarce on campus” and the UW Planetarium is a completely unique resource for UW students. Planetarium presenters regularly interact with a wide variety of students from all disciplines, backgrounds, and class standings. The planetarium presenters themselves come from a variety of backgrounds including astronomy, finance, classics, and drama.

Background

The UW planetarium serves thousands of UW students and members of the Seattle community every year, and this valuable and heavily used facility is primarily run and maintained by astronomy graduate students. The current planetarium hardware has been in place since 2010, when the planetarium was upgraded to a fully digital system to project images from the Microsoft's World Wide Telescope (WWT) software onto the planetarium dome. This digital upgrade allows us to illustrate advanced concepts beyond traditional ''constellation shows'' such as the life cycles of stars, the large scale structure of the universe, the orbits of planets in the solar system, the structure of our galaxy, the relative distances to stars, and many other astronomical concepts ranging from simple to advanced, depending on the audience.

The planetarium is the main component of the astronomy department's outreach program. We provide 10-16 shows for K-12 groups each month from fall to spring quarter and 5-10 shows each month during summer quarter. These shows average 30 attendees, so our outreach efforts reach well over 3,000 K-12 students and teachers annually. We also serve as a resource for our Astronomy 101 and 150 survey classes with an interdisciplinary undergraduate audience of about 2,000 per year. The planetarium also provides one of the of the first public speaking venues that most undergraduate astronomy majors and all astronomy graduate students will experience, as the presenters meet the public several times every week. Our relatively new Open Nights initiative, through which we provide shows to the general Seattle and UW community, allows us to reach hundreds of additional UW undergraduate and graduate students, plus as members of the general Seattle public each year. We anticipate these numbers will only grow as the Open Nights program matures.

The computer hardware used by the planetarium is now several years out of date, and computer malfunctions and crashes interrupt many of our shows. The main projectors are also beginning to show their age. Last fall quarter (2013) the planetarium suffered lamp failures in every one of its projectors. At the end of 2014 we experienced our first total projector failure, and we expect the others to soon follow suit. Without these projectors, we entirely lose the ability to visualize the Universe in ways that have thrilled thousands thus far.

Software for visualizing the Universe is also evolving. Beyond our current WWT software, we wish to implement use of a new program called Universe Sandbox 2. This software will allow us to go far beyond what World Wide Telescope enables us to show at present. With Universe Sandbox 2, we can illustrate highly sophisticated concepts such as climate change on Earth, galaxy collisions, orbital dynamics, supernovae, black hole event horizons, exoplanet "habitable zones", and much more. The simulations in Universe Sandbox 2 are rendered in real time, which represents an obstacle to full implementation, and the visualizations available with this software are currently unavailable anywhere else. Implementation of the Universe Sandbox 2 software will represent a major improvement of the planetarium’s capabilities and will allow us to dynamically illustrate concepts normally outside the scope of planetariums.

Experimenting with this software on our current computer system has shown us that it can take several minutes for some of the simulations to fully load, making it infeasible to display these fantastic, state-of-the-art learning visuals during live shows. Faster, up-to-date processors in new machines would help us greatly on this front. Being able to keep pace with the development of the existing WWT software also necessitates upgrades to high-end graphics cards in order to render high-resolution video and Universe simulations. An addition of two projectors to our suite of six, along with the appropriate conversion lenses, will allow us to present dynamic illustrations from Universe Sandbox 2 and other multimedia sources simultaneously with the immersive WWT dome projection.

The planetarium is the public face of the astronomy department, and we maintain a web presence where more information about our facility can be found at: http://uwplanetarium.wordpress.com/. Information on our outreach events can be found at: http://www.astro.washington.edu/groups/outreach/planetarium/

Benefits to Students and the University

The planetarium is heavily used during the department's Open House events during which we have partnered with the Seattle Science Center to expose hundreds of people to the wonders of the universe. As of October 2014 we have extended our community outreach to include monthly nighttime shows via our UW Planetarium Open Nights initiative, where graduate students have volunteered to address the public in 90-minute presentations about the night sky and the phenomena that occupy our universe. Each month there have been two shows on the first Friday evening of the month, and each show has been quickly subscribed to capacity (35 attendees per show).

The planetarium is a focal point of community outreach for the Astronomy department, where groups from local schools and organizations are hosted regularly on Fridays. On average, three shows have been given per week by undergraduate and alumni volunteers, as well as graduate students and faculty from the Astronomy department. The glowing thank-you cards our presenters frequently receive are a testament to how well-regarded the UW planetarium is in the public eye. Additionally, several classes include the planetarium as part of their curricula every quarter, including Astronomy 101 (299 students per quarter, 100 during summer) and Astronomy 150 (245 students, 50 during summer).

By giving planetarium shows, student presenters gain invaluable public speaking and teaching skills. Furthermore, planetarium volunteers can use the planetarium to schedule shows for UW groups and organizations with which they are affiliated. For example, our graduate and undergraduate volunteers have organized their own shows for NASA Space Grant students, the League of Astronomers undergraduate club, the UW libraries staff, the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, and more. This proactive ambassadorship to a diverse cross section of student groups is something the UW Planetarium and the astronomy department actively encourages. The planetarium is a uniquely valuable immersive tool for educating students across the campus about the universe. Of course, we also service campus groups who contact to us through our website. In the last year, UW students have performed shows for the UW Office of the President, the UW custodial staff, and the NASA Astrobiology Institute Executive Council. We have also used the planetarium facility to host an event for donors to the UW Astrobiology Program, and all of these student-run shows provide a unique venue to hone a wide variety of presentation skills.

Any undergraduate or graduate student who has taken an astronomy class can become a planetarium volunteer. Training sessions are run by astronomy graduate students. Currently, we have approximately 60 qualified undergraduate and alumni planetarium presenters, plus 30 qualified astronomy graduate student presenters.

Upgrading our hardware to efficiently run Universe Sandbox 2 will increase the relevance of the planetarium to other university departments and programs such as Earth and Space Sciences, Astrobiology, and Atmospheric Sciences since we will be able to more effectively illustrate concepts such as climate change, planetary habitable zones, and impact processes on planetary bodies. This will only serve to give relevant public speaking experience to more students as the pool of interest broadens with new visualizations.

Departmental Endorsements

Dear STF committee members:
I enthusiastically add my strongest possible support for the Astronomy Department's student technology fee proposal to upgrade our on-campus UW planetarium. In addition to excellent use in service courses for non-science-majors and also often as a centerpiece of UW advancement events, a truly outstanding attribute of the planetarium is science outreach. The planetarium serves several thousand K-12 students and other Washington State residents each year, through the generous donation of time and expertise especially from our astronomy graduate and undergraduate students. The popularity and success of these outreach opportunities is remarkable: I routinely receive unsolicited letters from community members lauding both the volunteer student staff and the high quality of the planetarium shows. In order to keep apace of recent developments in digital planetarium enhancements, the proposed upgrades are absolutely essential, and otherwise without a clear funding source. Many thanks for considering this proposal enabling us to continue the superb outreach (and other) offerings provided by our UW astronomy students--planetariums shows that reach a broad range of Washington state residents.
Scott Anderson
Professor and Chair
UW Astronomy Department
-------------------------------
To the STF Committee,
This letter is to express my overwhelming support for the Astronomy Department’s student technology fee proposal for updating the hardware in the UW planetarium. I teach Astronomy 270 - Public Outreach in Astronomy - each Spring Quarter. The students in this course come from all disciplines, not just astronomy. The only prerequisite for the course is an introductory astronomy course, and thus is open to thousands of UW students. Students having majors in accounting, drama, communications, languages, and more join the maybe 20% of the students who are astronomy/physics majors. The interaction of around 25 students across majors working towards a common goal - educational public outreach - builds competence, confidence, and community. The students learn all aspects of using the planetarium from the computer software to giving a great scientific talk to classroom management. However, in the past few years they needed to learn more about troubleshooting because there were very few times when the equipment and software worked perfectly. Students could not be confident that they would be able to successfully give their presentations to the K-12 group they were assigned to. For many of the Astronomy 270 students, their presentation represents the very FIRST time they have given a public talk. Not only that but this talk may be to a large group of pre-schoolers, middle-schoolers, home-schoolers, or groups with disabled students. This outreach effort deserves to have reliable, modern equipment from just about every aspect one can think of, and we are hopeful that the STF committee will agree!
Dr. Ana M. Larson
Senior Lecturer Astronomy
Director, Theodor Jacobsen Observatory
------------------------------
The UW Planetarium is one of the most important outreach tools the Astronomy Department has. Thousands of students experience the universe in a new way within our planetarium each year, but less obvious are the students and community members who volunteer their time to give these shows. The presenters, many of whom are from outside the astronomy department, use the planetarium as a way to stay involved with a subject they love (even if they aren't majoring in it). While we've done a lot to support both our visitors and our volunteer presenters, we're reaching the point where our hardware has become unreliable, and parts of the sky are often absent, or the entire show much be interrupted. This proposal will allow our presenters to keep up their fabulous work and maintain their connection to the astronomy department.

Oliver Fraser
Lecturer, Astronomy Department

Installation Timeline

Upon receipt of the computing equipment, installation can be completed within 2 week’s time, depending on the schedule of Jonathan Fay and the staff of the Physics/Astronomy Computer Support.

Once we receive the projectors, we will need to determine if additional machining is needed for the projector mounts. Since the projectors being requested are direct upgrades of the current out-of-production models, with almost identical dimensions, weight, and optical properties, we expect that there will be little re-configuration necessary for the current mounts. The two additional projectors will require mounts of their own. We have verified with the UW Telescope Engineering Group that if re-engineering is necessary, it can be completed within one month, including time for design and fabrication. Once the projector mounts are ready, installation will take place within a week. Since we have had a projector failure already, upgrades are time critical since the planetarium is still being heavily used.

These two timeframes are not mutually exclusive. Computer setup can occur while waiting for projector delivery, and vice-versa since the system that we currently have in place is still functioning, though nowhere near full capacity. We anticipate the total installation time to take two months at maximum. This includes the physical setup of the computers and projectors, alignment of the projectors, and installation and verification of the new software.

Resources Provided by Department

Because this is a simple upgrade of the hardware currently being used by the planetarium, many of the resources needed to have such an upgrade running quickly are already in place, including many of the cables, structure, mounts, expensive projection lenses, and sound system.

We will need to fabricate new projector mounts for the additional two projectors needed to show Universe Sandbox 2, and we may need to re-engineer the existing projector mounts, as they’re set specifically for the current projector setup. For this we have secured the cooperation of the UW Telescope Engineering Group, as they had created the existing mounts. As necessary they would employ an undergraduate for the required engineering work. That cost is included in the itemized budget.

For the software and computer setup, we have been granted a volunteer commitment from Jonathan Fay, the Microsoft Research employee responsible for setting up the original World Wide Telescope software and the current projector system.

The astronomy department provides small staff salaries (2 × 10% FTEs) for graduate students who serve as the planetarium coordinator and the technology specialist. Additionally, graduate and undergraduate students afford ample volunteer capacity for performing shows and alerting the paid staff to technical problems such as burnt out projector lamps and other malfunctioning systems. The astronomy department has a vested interest in the success of the planetarium, so we do not anticipate any insurmountable problems implementing the upgrades described in this proposal.

Access Restrictions (if any)

The entire UW community can access the planetarium through our Open Nights events, our undergraduate astronomy survey courses, or specific requests for group shows through our website. However, one must become a trained presenter in order to give shows. The planetarium facility contains expensive equipment, so access is restricted to trained presenters who check out a key from the astronomy department front office. Trained presenters can acquire the key whenever time is available on the calendar. The only prerequisite to becoming a planetarium presenter for undergraduates is that they must take a basic astronomy course or otherwise demonstrate that they have a good working knowledge of the field.

Student Endorsements

Members of the STF Committee,
I’m a fifth-year astronomy PhD student and have served as a volunteer graduate student presenter since I came to UW. I’m writing in support of this proposal to the Student Technology Fees Committee for needed upgrades to our planetarium hardware and for multimedia additions that will enhance the planetarium experience.

The UW Planetarium is an invaluable resource for bringing the wonders of the cosmos to the campus community and the Seattle community at large. I’ve given shows to many different kinds of people: small children, K-12 students, undergraduates, graduate and professional students, campus staff, and local astronomy enthusiasts. All of these groups are united in their awe and appreciation for the universe we inhabit. They are all curious to learn more about the night sky, about the orbits of the planets, the motion of stars and galaxies, and the potential for life elsewhere in our solar system or in another, even if it’s just through a brief and (necessarily) imperfect 45-minute show. While we do give many group shows to class groups, we also have Open Nights and specifically targeted shows that bring people together who may have never met before. I organized a series of shows to coincide with the Husky Sunrise graduate student welcome even this fall (organized by GPSS), and one of the results was to facilitate an engaging conversation between graduate and professional students from a broad variety of backgrounds with the planetarium show serving as a catalyst.

These shows are excellent opportunities to bring people from diverse backgrounds together, but that can be hampered when our outdated hardware causes the digital representation of the night sky to lag in its projection on the planetarium dome. It can also be problematic when bulbs burn out prematurely and technical work interrupts a performance. These proposed upgrades to the planetarium would ameliorate these concerns and produce a more streamlined experience.

The addition of new multimedia projectors and the Universe Sandbox software, which would be also funded by this proposal, would allow me as a presenter to expand the breadth of general scientific concepts that I can illustrate in my planetarium presentations. This would allow me to more directly appeal to a wider diversity of potential audience members in terms of prior knowledge and expertise. It would create the opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration in the domains of outreach and research, because we would be able to more easily illuminate concepts like climate change and planetary habitability, inviting participation from other departments and programs like Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Oceanography, and the Astrobiology Program.

Eddie Schwieterman
PhD Candidate, Astronomy & Astrobiology
-------------------------------
As a graduate student, the planetarium gives me an opportunity to interact with the public and step out of the "Ivory Tower". It is another avenue for me to practice speaking about astronomy publicly and gives the public a chance to interactively engage with astronomy in a very passive yet open environment for questions and discussions.

Lauren Anderson
PhD Candidate, Department of Astronomy
--------------------------------
Dear STF Committee,
I am a fifth year PhD student in astronomy and astrobiology, and I have been the planetarium coordinator since autumn quarter 2013. I know firsthand how valuable a resource our system is to the UW and wider Seattle community, and I am writing to express my extremely enthusiastic support of this STF proposal.
With the failure of one of our projectors already severely impacting our ability to give effective and immersive shows, it is critical that we obtain replacement equipment so that we may continue to serve our many audiences efficaciously.
The ability to project the Universe Sandbox 2 simulations would compliment our main World Wide Telescope software and would make our facility more relevant to students in other physical science departments such as physics, astrobiology and atmospheric science. Implementing Universe Sandbox 2 will allow us to talk about completely new and exciting areas of science that I have frequently found myself wanting to be able to illustrate during my shows. Universe Sandbox 2 opens up topics that are traditionally are out-of-reach in planetariums such as climatology, small bodies (i.e. asteroids and small moons), black hole physics, stellar evolution, concepts in general relativity, orbital dynamics, exoplanets, habitable zones, and more.
My experience with the planetarium has greatly improved my public speaking skills. Since I began volunteering with the planetarium during my first year at UW, there have been marked improvements to both my comfort level and ability to give effective and engaging public talks. I attribute these improvements primarily to the frequent shows I give to a wide variety of age levels. Effective communication is important to scientists because we frequently disseminate our results at conferences, and my improvements in public speaking have benefited me both at science conferences and at other non-planetarium outreach events.
Giada Arney
PhD Candidate, astronomy and astrobiology
-------------------------------
To the STF Committee,
During my tenure as an astronomy PhD student, I've been lucky to benefit from the digital transformation of the UW planetarium. At the beginning of my grad career, I used the previous "star ball" projector to present engaging outreach presentations on the movement of the stars and planets in the night sky. Unfortunately, I was not able to talk about my own PhD research on star clusters and nearby galaxies because I was not able to easily incorporate my images and data into my presentations. Thanks to the power of the digital planetarium, I now give outreach shows to the public and groups of close collaborators using the projectors and software capabilities of the facility. This ability has greatly improved my ability to describe and relate my research to wide audience -- an important skill to obtain during PhD training. I strongly endorse the continuation and renewal of this resource -- my experience has shown it to be invaluable for graduate student development.
Lent Cliff Johnson IV
Ph.D. Candidate, Astronomy
-------------------------------
To the STF Committee,
I am a 2nd year graduate student and have had the pleasure of giving planetarium shows to undergraduates at UW and middle school students from the greater Seattle community. The planetarium is not only a great visualization tool for the night sky, but also an invaluable means of communicating more abstract concepts about our universe, such as how stars form, how galaxies evolve, and why our universe appears the way it does. The multi-media nature of the planetarium makes it a powerful outreach tool. In addition to eliciting "oohs" and "ahhs", it inspires many questions and curious minds from the audience, which ranges widely in age and astronomy knowledge.
Diana Windemuth
Graduate Student, Astronomy

----------------------------------
As a graduate student in the Astronomy and Astrobiology Departments, I have volunteered to give talks to visitors in the planetarium spanning a variety of age groups. I have presented to elementary and high school kids, and I have witnessed the full potential of the planetarium to excite and inspire students. Our planetarium, equipped with the World Wide Telescope software tools, enables us to teach a plethora of science topics at a level appropriate for any age group. Especially for young children who have difficulty sitting through a lecture where one must imagine distant planets and stars, the real images and 3D visual aides provide accurate and captivating science education in a presentation so compelling that students often mistake it for entertainment. It is important to make STEM education friendly to these young minds, and the planetarium is a safe space where learning is cool, and science and fun can coexist.

Brett Morris
Graduate Student, Astronomy and Astrobiology

----------------------------------

The University of Washington Planetarium serves as an indispensable tool for student engagement and understanding. As a first year graduate student in astronomy, I have been able to guide undergraduates in my TA sections on an exploration of the cosmos in which we paid special attention to galaxy type, molecular clouds, interstellar extinction, and astronomical coordinate systems -- some fundamental concepts in Astronomy 101 here at UW. I fully endorse the upgrading of this brilliant facility.

Jacob Lustig-Yaegar
Astronomy Graduate Student

----------------------------------

As a junior is the astronomy department, and a member of the League of Astronomers club, I have come to find the planetarium a home away from home! Aside from furthering my education, it has also been a platform for me to come out of my shell, get practice with public speaking, and has allowed me to share my passion with everyone who comes for a show. I am beyond thrilled that we have started doing monthly public talks and hope to be involved with any further advancements in outreach!

Jordyn Marxen
Astronomy Undergraduate

----------------------------------

As an astronomy and physics major at the University of Washington, I have found my time at the planetarium to be informative, clarifying, and just plain fun. In fact, when I was attending elementary school just north of Seattle, a field trip to the University of Washington’s planetarium helped spark my interest in astronomy! As an undergrad, I found the planetarium to be especially useful when learning about celestial coordinates; the concept didn’t become clear until I could see its application projected onto the dome. I hope this planetarium can be awarded the improvements that it deserves.

Tiffany Jansen
Astronomy and Physics Junior
----------------------------------
To whom it may concern,

My name is Sylvia Kowalski and I am a junior at the UW, triple majoring in Astronomy, Drama and Physics. I love all of the classes that I am taking and studying a very wide array of topics during my day. However, sometimes I feel like it is difficult for me to find activities in which I get to use all the skills I am learning in the classroom and the UW planetarium is one of those places!

I have been able to give multiple shows for outside school groups, private events and current classes and I not only am giving the freedom to explore my favorite topics in Astronomy but also my creativity in performing. In the realm of public astronomy outreach, up to date, exciting, creative avenues of current research is the name of the game and as I prepare for a career pathway after college in the same field I am so thankful for the opportunity to start that with the UW planetarium.

With the current set up we have, our ability to do these amazing shows, and the opportunities for us to learn and exercise useful skills is present but faulty in the fact that computers freeze, projectors sometimes decide to take a break and we cannot deliver the full glory of the shows that we wish to present. We are so, so, SO thankful for the consideration of our proposal and hope that you find it as worth while and important as we do! Have a fabulous day!

Sylvia Kowalski
Astronomy, Drama, and Physics Undergraduate
----------------------------------

The UW Planetarium has been vital to my educational career so far. I am an astronomy and physics major in my second year and I have a passion for teaching science to others. I have given over a dozen shows throughout the last year to groups including young elementary classes, my friends and family, and fellow undergraduate students. Using the planetarium has greatly increased my public speaking skills. I have gone from being nervous presenting in front of a class of peers to being confident in teaching astrophysics to large groups (up to 60 people!) of strangers. I absolutely love the planetarium and would be ecstatic to see the hardware get upgraded!

Cooper McDevitt
Astronomy and Physics Undergraduate

----------------------------------

A key component in learning is an ability to see demonstrations and examples of the materials being covered. Physics, chemistry and biology all have a multitude of labs and demonstrations available to students. All other departments and majors have something analogues to the labs and demonstrations of the sciences. Astronomy on the other hand does not have anything hands on for students to experience because this science takes place outside of Earth. Instead students must live with visualizations. Descriptive visualizations can go only so far before something more is needed, that something being in this case the planetarium. Even a basic understanding of coordinates of constellations is difficult to visualize but incredibly simple with a visit to the planetarium. As the topics in astronomy courses move along the importance of the planetarium increases exponentially in order to truly understand the material. I also feel that with an ever growing curiosity of what is beyond Earth astronomy will become a very popular major and a very important one, so it only makes sense to get the equipment before the UW is forced to lose prospective students to schools who were ahead of the curve.

Wade Shaffer
Astronomy Undergraduate

----------------------------------

I support the technology upgrade because the UW Planetarium is a huge asset to students, instructors, and community members alike. I have been presenting at the UW Planetarium for over 2.5 years. During that time, I have delivered over 50 tours to just under 2,000 people in classes, campus clubs, and community groups. The facilities and technology have inspired students to ask questions and explore on their own. My tours have connected areas of academic study, including Bioethics, History, and Classics, to Astronomy. In fact, the Classics department has been involved in about 10 percent of my shows. However, as much good as the UW Planetarium has done, the technology is becoming outdated and is struggling to keep pace with the high demand that is placed on it. I believe that an overhaul and upgrade is not only a good thing, but a necessary one in order to continue the important task of campus and community outreach in Astronomy.

Thanks,
Dave Brodhead
UW Classics

----------------------------------

The UW planetarium was a unique place for me to hone my presentation and curriculum development skills. I learned to give accessible science talks to ages 5 to 70, as well as to students with developmental disabilities such as hearing loss and blindness. There is simply no other place on a university campus that enables scientists to gain such training.

Philip Rosenfield
Former Astronomy Graduate Student and former Planetarium Coordinator

Items

Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal
Workstations

Hard Drives North West Custom-built Workstations

$1,853.00 7 $12,971.00
Description

Asus Z97-PRO (WI-FI AC) LGA115 Motherboard
Intel i7-4790 3.6GHz 1150 Quad-core CPU
16GB (2x8) DDR3 RAM
500GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD
Asus STRIX-GTX980-DC2OC-4GD5
Thermaltake SP-750M SMART 750W Power supply

Purchased from Hard Drives North West.

Justification

Not available from CDWG

This is the main part of the planetarium upgrade, outfitting the computer system that runs the visualizations with up-to-date graphics cards that can handle high-resolution simulations and video output. Without these machines, we will not be able to run any software released beyond now, and we will continue to have trouble handling the software that we already have access to. We also want to be able to physically fit the machines into the rack system that we currently possess, along with our sound system and auxiliary electronics. This quote encompasses the cost of delivering our current computers to Hard Drives North West, them outfitting those cases with the specifications quoted in the description, and returning these same computer cases to our facilities.

Universe Sandbox 2

Universe Sandbox 2

$24.99 7 $174.93
Description

Universe Sandbox 2

http://universesandbox.com/2/

Justification

Not available through CDW-G

Universe Sandbox 2 is a state-of-the-art physics-based space simulator. Within this software, one can not only see the known local and large-scale Universe as the field of astronomy knows it to exist today, but one can also see actual physical consequences of interacting with that Universe. This includes everything from asteroidal impacts on our current Earth-Moon system, to seeing the effect of a star being consumed by a black hole. There is nothing like it, and its educational potential is near-limitless. This software is the next level in simulations of the physical universe. It will allow trained students to break out of the existing framework of WWT and present a view of the Universe that allows physical interaction.

Projectors

Sharp XV-Z17000 Home Theater Projector

$3,479.00 8 $27,832.00
Description

SharpVision XV-Z17000 Projector
https://officewonderland.com/listings/sharp-xv-z17000-3d-dlp-projector-2-sets-of-glasses/

Brightness: 1600 Lumens
Contrast Ratio: 50,000:1
Native Resolution: 1920x1080
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (HD)
Video Modes: 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 575p, 576i, 480p, 480i
3D Modes: Full HD 3D
Digital Inputs: HDMI 1.4
Lamp Life: 3,000 hours
Standard zoom lens: 1.15:1
Throw Distance: 4.8-41.2 feet
Image Size: 40-400 inches

Justification

Not available from CDW-G

Without projectors, the planetarium simply cannot persist. The existing projectors are on their way out, with one having already experienced complete circuit failure. This projector is the next step forward from the projectors that have served the planetarium over the past few years. We need these as opposed to any offered by CDW-G not just because its physical dimensions fit within the spaces permitted by the planetarium, but because their optical properties (throw distance, contrast, brightness, aspect ratio, resolution) match those of the existing set-up. To change projectors would potentially require a costly investment in conversion lenses, as well as a full re-designing of the planetarium infrastructure to accommodate projectors of different sizes. With these, having already had experience with projectors from this brand and backup lenses from the previous generation, we expect at least another 5 years of service.

Wide-Angle Lens

$1,883.00 2 $3,766.00
Description

Navitar ScreenStar 0.65x Wide Angle Conversion Lens
Part #SSW065 (http://www.navitar.com/product/standard-screenstar.aspx)

Justification

Not available through CDW-G.

Navitar’s ScreenStar wide-angle and long-throw conversion lenses sit in front of a projector’s standard lens to increase picture size or throw distance. The Navitar ScreenStar 0.65x Wide Angle Conversion Lens will increase the throw distance of the two requested auxiliary projectors by 50%, producing visualizations of the same scale as the currently existing 6-projector setup. The throw distances and aspect ratios of the requested projectors necessitate these lenses in order to keep the pictures from the two side-projectors in line with the existing six. The existing six projectors, and the six new ones that will replace them, already have these same wide-angle lenses mounted and fixed in front of their standard lenses in order to produce the images seen on the planetarium dome.

Table Mount for Wide-Angle Lens

$270.00 2 $540.00
Description

Part #1-17262
Purchased from Navitar (http://www.navitar.com/product/mounts-and-stands.aspx)

Justification

Not available through CDW-G.

The lens mount produced by Navitar that goes with the ScreenStar 0.65x Conversion Lens. The mount allows you to place the lens in front of the projector and easily adjust the height and tilt as required. This would complete the setup of the auxiliary projectors.

Projector Mounts

Projector Mount Aluminum

$480.00 1 $480.00
Description

Stock Aluminum
UW Telescope Engineering Group

$3/pound
20 pounds per projector - $60 per projector
$60 per projector x 8 projectors - $480

Justification

Not available through CDW-G

This accounts for the metal necessary for the two auxiliary projectors, as well as for the existing projectors. The new projectors will likely fit the current mounts that exist within the planetarium. However, in case they don't and the existing mounts cannot be sufficiently re-engineered we want to make sure that we have the necessary materials to mount the new set of projectors. This was the same type of metal used previously, and it has served the planetarium without incident since its implementation.

Projector Mount Machining Labor 200 hours x $20/hr

$4,000.00 0 $0.00
Description

UW Telescope Engineering Group Undergraduate Research Assistant

$20 per hour for 200 hours of work (40 hours of machine-shop labor for each new auxiliary projector + 20 hours of labor for re-engineering existing mounts) by an undergraduate working for the UW Telescope Engineering Group.

Justification

Not available through CDW-G

In addition to the modification of the current mounts, a machinist would be required to create new mounts for the two auxiliary projectors. The UW Telescope Engineering Group has agreed to provide an undergraduate research assistant as long as the funding exists along with their pre-existing mount designs.

Misc

Tax

$1,232.25 1 $1,232.25
Description

Computers from Hard Drives North West: $1,232.25
Projectors from Office Wonderland: $0
Navitar Lenses and Mounts: $0
Universe Sandbox 2: $0

Justification

This is the state sales tax on the computers. We request that this is paid by the STF.

Shipping

$55.28 1 $55.28
Description

Navitar Lenses & Mounts: $55.28
Sharp XV-Z17000 3D DLP Projector: $0.00
Universe Sandbox 2: $0.00 (Download)

Justification

This is the shipping cost for the Navitar equipment, . We request that this is paid by the STF.

Total requested: $51,051.46

Total funded: $47,051.46

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