I'm a big planetarium fan. What could be more fun than sitting still in a big dark room and looking at stuff, while somebody talks about the cosmos and the sweep of time and stuff? No, seriously -- that's big fun for me. Planetariums combine the fun of sitting with the joy of staring. Also: darkness punctuated by points of light, and sometimes video. So I was delighted to come across a link to sixteen incredible planetarium projectors at object/design site Oobject.
These projectors look like crazy Brazil-style brain-sucking devices, complete with crazy insect-like legs and plenty of shiny, pointy things. Here's a bit of text from the article:
For sheer baroque complexity of appearance, planetarium projectors are among the most amazing gizmos ever built. They range from enormous machines more than 20 ft. high to a soccer ball sized $300 home version.
Their purpose is a bizarre reversal of a large optical telescope, taking an internal view of the universe and projecting it on a dome, rather than creating a view from peering outside of one, but the aesthetic is somewhat similar. Another curious similarity is how much they look like some early satellites.
Check out the full list -- my favorite is the Calcutta Planetarium Zeiss Projector (pictured above).