It is an obvious play on words, but how many really can claim that they can offer us the sky with the stars? Fanis, Kostas and Christos, however, can. The three good friends, which are united in their love of astronomy, made their passion their profession, presenting the first mobile digital planetarium in Greece, "so that everyone has access to the wonders of the Universe."
It is a large but portable installation 6m in diameter and 4m height with images running across the hole interior surface of the dome which reaches 57 m2. Planetarium on the Go has the capacity for 36 seats for adults and can accommodate a lot more children.
The premiere was made two weeks ago in Ioannina, where the team is based. "It was incredible, within one day we gave 12 shows, all of which were full" says Kostas Sakkas, a civil engineer by profession, but an amateur astronomer at heart. He is in astronomy since '99, first as a member of the Greek Astronomical Union in Athens, and since 2004 in Ioannina as a founding member, along with the astronomer of the Observatory of Athens Nikos Matsopoulos, of Zagori Observatory and Ioannina Amateur Astronomy Association. For many years he organized astronomy events and lecturing on astronomy throughout Greece, when at some point he had the idea to create a "normal" portable planetarium. The idea was implemented jointly with Theofanis Matsopoulos, partner of the European Southern Observatory, and his brother, also a civil engineer, Christos Sakkas.
Initially they tried a six-meter inflatable planetarium, but the image quality did not satisfied them. "We looked for quality equipment and eventually we spotted this new patent for flawless viewing" says Kostas.
Planetarium on the Go can travel to a school, museum, library or any public place, even in the most remote locations. “That was our goal, to give the opportunity to children especially those far away from major cities to live the planetarium experience. The fact that it is small gives it an interactive character. Children have a direct contact with the operator, and when the weather conditions allow we have observations with a telescope, sunspots in the morning or the starry sky at night. This season, for example, we observe Saturn."