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Star Theatre: The Story of the Planetarium
by William Firebrace
Reaktion Books, 2017
Cloth: 978-1-78023-835-7 | eISBN: 978-1-78023-888-3

Most of us can recall a childhood visit to a planetarium: the sense of anticipation as the room darkens. The stars begin to appear as the voice of an astronomer is heard. In the planetarium, where the audience is transported to distant galaxies, the wondrous complexity of the cosmos combines with entertainment to become a theater of the night.

Star Theatre explores the history of the planetarium’s mix of science and spectacle. William Firebrace reveals how in the planetarium, the solar system and universe is demonstrated on an ever-expanding scale. He traces the origins of the building through history, from its antecedents to its invention in Germany in the 1920s, developments in the USSR and the United States, to its expansion across the globe at the time of the space race, and finally to the evolution of the contemporary planetarium in a time of startling astronomical and cosmological discoveries. This concise and well-illustrated history will appeal to astronomy lovers and those interested in architecture, theater, and cinema.

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