When visiting the big theme parks of Disney, Warner and Universal the special light effects always were very impressive. Disneys "Space Mountain" is a famous example for the use of fibre optic lights. They used a lot of this fiber optics there, e. g. for a moving comet tail or a starry sky.
Because of my work for a special purpose machinery manufacturing company once we had a lot of fiber optic
leftovers that were used for optical sensors. This was the initiation to build my own starry sky.
The challenge was to create a 2 x 2 m surface lighted with stars and this surface should be possible to hang for example below a living room ceiling. The result bases on a 5 mm plywood panel with aluminum frame and hangers. But how to fix the stars on the panel?
It was necessary to get a picture of the starry sky over Germany at a specified date, to invert it, to carve out the biggest stars and to delete the ones that should not be used. By using a special software I printed that out and on 48 DIN A4 pages, sticked them together and fixed it on the panel. Afterwards I made corresponding holes; for the big stars I used a 2 mm drill, for the small ones a 1,3 mm drill and sticked more than 200 fiber optics into the panel. I added some additional lights by using LED spotlights, 2 LED light sources for the stars and painted everything - et voilá.
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Explanations to the text:
Fiber optic - optical cable
A technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data. A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.
"Space Mountain" is a roller coaster in the theme parks of Disneys Magic Kingdom. The roller coaster is located inside a building and the ride takes place in the dark (dark roller coaster).
LED=light-emitting diode is a semiconductor device that emits light when electric current passes through it. The light is pretty bright but with low power consumption and heat development. LED spotlights are LED that are designed like spotlights, e. g. known from the halogen technology, but to reach the same luminance like a halogen lamp they only need about 10 % of the power.