Last January we got a gift of a wonderful globe made by Stellanova. It glowed from the inside, illuminating all of the constellations on its surface. The globe is beautiful, and makes for a terrific lamp when we need just a little bit of light. Yesterday, we got something that looks similar to the Stellanova globe but does quite a bit more. It is a personal planetarium called LiveStar by iOptron.
The LiveStar Planetarium is a desk-top sized rotating globe covered by a star map. In the middle of the globe is a small light. The globe and the light are mounted on a rotatable stem. The globe, shelf, and base of the LiveStar are made of plastic. The lettering on the dials and knobs are decals. While the LiveStar is not “Questar quality,” the unit looks quite nice and is reasonably well constructed.
Using the compass and markings, the the LiveStar may be oriented to the user’s latitute/date/time to approximate what one may see at that location. The globe rotates at two different speeds. The rates do not correspond to anything astronomical, but are just a way to move the projections across the ceiling. The projector itself has two brightness settings. The “low” setting is suitable for looking directly at the globe. The “high” setting is when you want to project the constellations onto the wall.
What the iOptron LiveStar is:
- A beautiful night light
- A funky constellation projector
- A cool way to decorate a room by creating a starry backdrop
- A fun way for kids to learn the shape of some constellations
What the iOptron LiveStar is NOT:
- A realistic constellation projector
- A tool for the class room
- A precision astronomical instrument
Even with its astronomical limitations, we are still quite taken with the iOptron LiveStar. It fills the room with stars, sparks the imagination, and would provide a beautiful way to fall asleep every night. It would make a wonderful addition to the room of a child/ someone who is a child at heart.