The Planetarium Man

The Planetarium Man (Frank Gear F.R.A.S.) on one of his visits to Mauna Kea Hawaii with the Keck Observatories in the back ground. During his recent visit to Hawaii Frank was allowed to sit at the console of the Hilo 3D planetarium and “fly” around the Solar system.

The StarDome

Frank with the mobile planetarium

StarDome is an inflatable star laboratory that can be brought to your location. It is capable of seating up to 30 children sitting on the floor, or a smaller number of adults. The star lab provides an experience only matched by visiting a permanent planetarium, such as the London Planetarium.

The StarDome star lab planetarium enables the experienced astronomy tutor that operates the star lab to project the night sky for any hour of any day of the year at any latitude from just below the equator to how the skies can be seen if the observer were standing at the North pole.

In addition, astronomical slides and music enhance the presentation. The whole presentation creates the illusion of being outside on a clear moonless night when the observer can see something like 2,000 naked eye stars in the sky.

Inside the StarDome

Teachers & Pupils comments following a StarDome Presentation


Hardwick County Primary School, Banbury

Thank you for coming to Hardwick school. The StarDome was like real life and the slide show was brilliant! The stars made us feel like we were in space. We enjoyed talking to you about stars and the universe. Thank you for spending extra time to teach us about space and answering all our questions so that we could understand. Finally we appreciate your effort in putting the programme together. We have learned a lot about astronomy and maybe one day we will also be astronomers.

Yours sincerely

Years 5 and 6.

What programmes does StarDome star lab show?


There are three basic programmes for schools.

Lower Primary Programme. Intended for children between 6 years and 11 year old. (Nominally Y2, 3 or 4).

Upper Primary Programme. More emphasis on gaining knowledge and interest in astronomy and space.

Lower Secondary Programme. Intended for children between 11 and 13 years old. This programme builds on the KS3 programme of study, and includes:

  • Common constellations.
  • The sun, stars and galaxies.
  • Planets of the solar system and their movements.
  • Rotation and orbit of the Earth.
  • Exploration of the solar system.

All of the above programmes allow time for question and answer sessions.

Other special programmes can be provided by prior arrangements.

What is required for a presentation?
You will need a large room, probably a hall, and at least 7m X 7m floor area with a height of 4m clear of overhead lights or obstructions. The StarDome star lab is not sound proof so the room cannot be used simultaneously for teaching, waiting or other activities.


At least one 13 Amp power point is needed to operate the star lab.

StarDome star lab takes approximately one hour to set up and vehicular access is required close to the venue.

Allow a period of one and a half hours for the StarDome to be packed up. Help of an adult is required to pack up and load up the equipment at the end of the show.

Click here for details of costs and to make your booking


Contact Frank Gear on

Phone 01604 714712

Post: The Planetarium Man, 251 Abington Ave, Northampton, NN3 2BU

Email: planetarium-man@o2.co.uk


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