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Trends Uk Ltd National Geographic New Planetarium

none (Barcode EAN = 5060062140927).
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Trends Uk Ltd National Geographic New Planetarium

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User Reviews

Average Rating:  3 out of 5

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There are 19 reviews for this product.

The National Geographic Planatarium is a great way to learn about the basics of the planets and the layout of the night-sky.

The fun of turning your own bedroom into a Planatarium is the obvious highlight. To power the unit it takes four AA size batteries for the unit and two more AAs for the pointer.
Then just make the room dark and switch on the Planatarium light. This will project the map of the night sky onto your ceiling. Press the other button on the unit and the sky will rotate and you will hear commentary about the planets. The addition of the pointer makes it easy to point out things on the sky map without having to get up or describe what star you are looking at.

The commentary itself is fairly brief, reasonably basic and only covers our planets but it is still interesting and should contain information that all age groups can learn from. This Planatarium is aimed at years aged 8+, so I think the information offered is pitched at just the right level. If you wanted to be really scientifically picky, you could take issue with certain descriptive words used, but for its main intents and purposes this is a fine way to stimulate interest in the night sky.

One downside is that, at least on my review model, the motor that turns the globe is quite noisy, so it may not be such a good idea to use it late at night if people are trying to sleep. Also there doesnt seem to be a volume control, so again the commentary is best listened to when other people dont mind hearing it.
On my review model you are able to stop the globe from rotating while still having the light on, enabling you to pause the sky map on the ceiling if you wish. But it seems that if you want it to rotate as well, you have to again listen to the commentary at the same time (I could see no way of disabling the commentary and still having the rotating movement at the same time). Also every time you switch the rotate button on, the commentary starts from the beginning again. You will get the best effect of the unit projection if you can position it fairly high off the floor.
You should be careful when placing the pointer in its holder on the side of the unit as it would be easy to dent the globe structure.

On the instructions, the crucial point about putting the batteries into the unit before using it was on page 3, not page 1, which seemed a bit strange. At the back of the manual is 10 pages of information on the planets and constellations, along with other celestial objects.

The set comes with a CD-ROM, the program of which you have to install on your computer which it says is compatible with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000 or XP and needs a minimum screen resolution of 800x600. It only takes a few moments to install.
Once you run the program, you bascially have a virtual Planatarium on your computer screen. You get buttons to switch the stars labels on and off and it will give you options to zoom and set co-ordinates etc. It also gives the option to track objects like stars and planets to show their orbital movement.
Although I think it would have been helpful for most astronomy newcomers to have an automatic tutorial when you start the program, this CD-ROM is still worth sticking with and does allow you to get more technical than the main unit. But some interactive guidance here would have been helpful, as otherwise you are almost reduced to just clicking on various program buttons and seeing what happens.

For anyone wanting to give themselves or their children familiarity of the night sky without wanting to stand outside in the cold evenings then this is a good basic introduction to the layout of the stars. But it is best used as a jumping off point to learning more, rather than a complete solution in itself.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 4 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 31Mar2009
If you or your children have an interest in astronomy, this planetarium is worth a purchase. When used in a dark room, it projects the stars onto the ceiling and walls, and with the press of a button you can also listen to a commentary on the solar systems planets as the display rotates around the room.

The commentary is fairly informative but obviously once youve heard it once it loses its appeal somewhat. Unfortunately you cant turn on the rotating display without the commentary, which is a bit of a shame.

The clarity of the display onto the walls and ceiling is pretty good. Also included is a pointer which is basically a torch with a red light. It works fine for pointing at items on the planetariums projected display.

There is a CD-ROM containing a program called CyberSky, which charts the stars and planets and can be configured to show the night sky from any point on Earth. Frankly, CyberSky seems a little old and despite claiming in its Help that it is suitable for astronomers of any age its quite hard to get to grips with. I havent found it as useful as Id hoped.

You need 6 AA batteries to run the planetarium and the pointer, which is quite a lot but so far they seem to be lasting quite well. Build quality is fine and overall Im fairly impressed. Its fairly basic but informative enough and my kids have taken a good amount of interest in it. I do think its a little pricey for what it is so there are perhaps better products out there but this particular planetarium does a good job.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 3 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 25Mar2009
Bought this toy for my 9year old granddaughter, who lives in New Zealand. Before I send it over I tested it out on my friends children who are ages 2 and 4 years. We had great fun with it. The 2 year old was excited to see the stars all over the room and the 4 year old was asking about all the names projected around the room and using the pointer to question the names of the stars.
Hope this goes down as well `down under`.
Read all the reviews before purchase, but was glad that I bought this toy.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 4 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 22Mar2009
Its less than amateur, its useless. The light isnt strong enough to show the stars, voice is `robot-like`, pointer is not laser and it didnt rotate at all!
If you want to make anyone happy dont buy this to them.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 1 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 19Mar2009
This is a wonderful product. Already had one for my son but bought this one for his younger cousin. Hours of fun and learning.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 5 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 26Feb2009
I wasnt sure at first whether this would be used once and then put to one side, but our son seems to get this out regularly and use it.

The spoken passage about the solar system does get a bit repetitive after a few hearings, but the constellations are fascinating to study. The backlight isnt very bright, but if used shining close on a wall, its clear enough.

Our son has been playing the CD-Rom that came with this planetarium and found it very interesting and useful.

I dont think that this is the sort of toy that can be played with daily, but its one that will be got out every so often in the winter evenings for some `quiet time.`

Recommended for budding astronomers.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 5 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 16Feb2009
Beguiled by the promises of the celestial vaults dancing slowly & gracefully across my own ceiling I was quite excited about the arrival of this planetarium. However, my vision was more than a little optimistic, what I instead got was a grinding & whirring lump of plastic that spewed odd blurry shapes onto my ceiling whilst assaulting my eardrums with a tinny commentary. Its almost as difficult to decipher the commentary as it is the blurry constellations themselves.

This really is a dreadful & shoddily put together contraption.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 1 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 14Feb2009
This is flimsy, the audio is terrible and the projection blurry. It doesnt deliver, which is a real shame as the basic idea is a good one, ruined by shoddy execution. Poor value.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 1 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 26Jan2009
Before I begin, let me get something straight. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the sale and use of laser pointers. Some countries have even banned them. This item comes with one (all be it a not very powerful one). So, we can safely assume that when the novelty of the actual item wears off, kids will be taking the pointer to school to misbehave with.
The product: You can often tell when a half-hearted effort has been put into a product - it doesnt come with batteries. You get the item home, and just as your child is looking forward to trying their new toy you realise that you will have to get some batteries. And not just one or two. 6xAA, (4 for the device and 2 for the pointer). The actual image projected, with the provided audio, is rather poor. I am not even sure how authentic the images and information is. What does the fact that I am projecting a squiggly line with a name next to it onto the ceiling of a bedroom in a bedsit, have to do with the sky?
Construction: The item is fairly well made and easy to set up. Putting aside any educational value, the item could be used to help young children sleep. It is soothing to watch.
Educational value: A good video or film(s) would probably be a better learning tool.
The only thing I have gained from this item is 6AA batteries that I was forced to buy and now use for my TV remote.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 2 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 25Jan2009
I have to say apart from the fragile planet sphere which cracked when putting it together, this is a great gadget. Ideal for kids, teenagers and big boys who like toys. EAsy to use, fascinating stuff and entertaining. A must have for the gift that is a bit different. WOuld have given it 5 stars but easily damaged so gave it 4 instead.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 5 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 23Jan2009
This product was bought for my two sons, aged 6 & 4, to try and introduce them to astronomy. Effectively the toy is a battery-powered console that spins around to project the night sky onto your ceiling, all accompanied by a spoken soundtrack, plus there is a light pointer so you can highlight certain constellations.

It projects a pretty good image if your room is totally dark (we have Velux windows with blackout blinds, which works really well) and the soundtrack is ok if a little laborious as you seem to have to kick it off from the start each time. Also Im not sure how robust the toy will be. The CD-ROM that comes with it doesnt seem to work on an Apple Mac.....

In summary, the toy is pretty good and quite novel but probably dont expect it to have any more than occasional use once the novelty has worn off; my kids seem to like the light pointer best of all!

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 3 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 22Jan2009
This is a great idea, and promises a lot - the design looks good, and the built in commentary is a good idea. But press the button, and theres soemthing of a disappointment. You get an interesting but poorly reproduced starscape, and the projection onto the average ceiling is rather hit and miss.

NG had a good idea here, but this is a real missed chance. The standard of astonomical material on the internet knocks spots off this, and it is likely to reduce the average 8 year old to fits of laughter. In my experience, younger children enjoyed this as a kind of novelty nightlight, which is what it is, in essence.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 2 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 22Jan2009
Like most of the National Geographic branded toys this is another pretty simple but well rendered model. The planetarium projects nicely onto the ceiling and walls and the pointer is pretty handy for pointing out constellations spotted out in the sky without doing oneself harm. There are other similar models on the market but this is pretyy sturdy and requires a minimum of setting up other than installing a number of batteries.

Nice product.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 4 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 21Jan2009
I was so looking forward to getting this! When it arrived, I installed the batteries and turned out the lights and it was all downhill from there. Unfortunately, the bulb is not strong enough to project a clear picture onto the walls. My spare bedroom is painted all white so it should hhave been ideal for this product. The light pointer which you get with the product is also not concentrated enough. In summary, its a great idea, but I would definately not reccomend this to anyone until it had a dramatic redesign.

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 1 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 21Jan2009
My own Planetarium I thought, that would be great. I imagined watching stars and planets glide past in glorious detail. Who needs the London planetarium?

Well, reality strikes hard sometimes and even upon opening the box I saw that this piece of black plastic wouldnt live up to expectations. The kit consists of a base, small light bulb and globe of stars. The stars are actually in the form constellations marked out with the names of each constellation and the stars themselves are obscured by this.

Once put together, the idea is that the light will illuminate the walls and ceiling and the commentary will take you through a guide of the universe. Well, the commentary is actually about the planets and the map just has the constellations, so they dont really match. On top of this, the commentary is badly recorded, the speaker is tinny and the whole thing sounds cheap.

The globe then rotates, just round and round, which is a bit of a problem as the constellations are not only on top but underneath and on the lower sides, obscured by the base of the machine. To see these you need to move the globe manually and start the machine rotating again.

Another issue is that after viewing this in a darkened room my daughters, my wife and I all felt dizzy. Not a good end to a poor display. The stars were definitely not out in our bedroom.

The enclosed booklet is only half useful, it then spends the other half of the thin volume explaining Astrology for no particular reason. The CD-ROM is as bad, actually managing to look even older than it is and not really being very educational.

Well, all I can say is; Dont worry London planetarium, youre safe for now!

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 1 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 20Jan2009
In a nutshell, this toy is a little machine that beams the constellations onto your ceiling and, if you press another button, has a recorded narrative and a motor that makes the night sky slowly revolve. Unfortunately, the motor only seems to work occasionally.

As far as the technology goes, this is a very old-fashioned product. The commentary may be on a voice chip, but otherwise it is just a glorified torch. National Geographic shouldnt allow their branding to be used on such a shoddy product.

The constellations are only clearly visible if the planetarium is very close to the ceiling and because each one is labelled, the result is a chaos of words, dots and lines. It would have been better if we just had the stars on the ceiling, with the option of adding words and constellation patterns afterwards.

This product could have redeemed itself with a brilliant CD-Rom, but the one that is supplied looks like some sort of MS-DOS product from 1992.

This product is cheap and boring. Dont waste your money on it!

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 1 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 18Jan2009
To call this a planetarium (even though it does specify its a toy) really is a very far stretch of imagination. Apart from the fact that when it projects, you cant tell whats what from the blurry jumble of blobs, lines and names, its difficult to tell which names refer to which objects and so on. The voice-over is quite informative for someone that might not have come across the subject. But the visual aspect is what is supposed to make it fun, and in my opinion it leaves a lot of disappointment. Most images are blurred (unless you move it right up to a wall or ceiling), you need a very large wall or ceiling to see it all properly, unless you perch it on a very high pedestal very close to the ceiling. But if you are lucky enough to have a dome ceiling somewhere in your home (haha) it might work better. But if you want a real educational experience ... take your kids to a real planetarium (money better spent)

However, it does say it could make a good projecting night light when youre done with it (which wont take long) as a planetarium. But some kids might find the spidery lines a little scary.

Overall ... disappointing

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 2 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 17Jan2009
I like the idea but the product here is quite abysmal. You need to have the device close to the ceiling to make some of it readable but this badly distorts the edges. I could not find a position in which most of it was legible. Likely youd need a domed ceiling for this to work properly and the lens would need to be a lot sharper with the light more powerful. That would be more expensive but better.

Youll need 6 AA batteries - rechargeables seem to work okay.

If I could turn off the annoying voice, the rotating projection in a darkened room is quite relaxing; perhaps thats how it should be sold...

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 2 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 17Jan2009
We bought this for our 9 year old who is space mad, and as avid National Geograhic Readers, which is a great magazine, thought it would be a quality product. BIG mistake. It is complete garbage!! As all other reviewers have mentioned the projected image is blurred. Unless that is, a devoted grandmother (as my sons did) stands on a stepladder with the product in her hands!!! STAY AWAY FROM THIS PRODUCT!

Reviewed by: Amazon Reviewer   Rating: 1 out of 5  Date Reviewed: 28Mar2008

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