A mammoth labor of love that took him no less than 15 years to construct, Kovac built a spherical planetarium with a 22 foot diameter, and weighs in at 2 tons. It has been deemed “the world’s largest, rolling, mechanical, globe planetarium.” To manipulate his rolling monster, Kovac rigged it to an “electric, variable-speed motor controller.”
There are multiple types of planetarium systems. Globe planetaria like Kovac’s are generally viewed from an angle and almost have 360 degree coverage of the night sky all at once. Dome planetaria, like our own Wetherbee Planetarium, cover half of a sphere and can either be directly overhead, or on an angle, generally leaning forward. Planetaria can either make use of multiple kinds of projection systems, or they can have a fixed image of the night sky put on their surface.
|Image credit: SPACE.com.|
Kovac recently spoke to CBS about his planetarium, and said it is now open to the public in Monico, Wisconsin ($12 admission). He said he still works at the paper mill, but spends most of his time with his planetarium.
“To be a planetarium director, you need college,” he said, “but if you build your own, you can run it!”