Help Me See Stars ... Good Night Sky Lamp/Projector for My Apartment?
October 1, 2021 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for a lamp/projector I can put on the floor in the middle of my living room that will throw a nice night sky pattern on the walls and ceiling. DON'T want some cheesy 5-pointed-star-and-crescent-moon-thing. Extra points if it includes the Milky Way and is <=$50 (but will consider going higher). Thanks, y'all!
posted by ZenMasterThis to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also (just thought of these) ...

--Don't want lines showing me where the constellations are
--Don't care if it has a motor
--Powered by AC (via USB adapter is ok)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:48 AM on October 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sega Flux Home Planetarium? It's more expensive than what you're looking for. But this might be a place to start.
posted by Vatnesine at 9:57 AM on October 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

I am looking into this as well and have a side question if I may. Do these things look good in a lower ceiling mid sized room? My living room is about 7.5 feet off the ground and not a particular big. It seems to me the projections would look better on a larger, high ceilinged room. I am hesitant to splurge over $200 on the device I'd the result is underwhelming.
posted by Pantalaimon at 10:45 AM on October 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

I can't be sure it was this one, but we used something like the StarRooms® glow in the dark night sky kit to do our bedroom. It's a box, a flashlight bulb, a sheet with the summer night sky star patterns on it, and a set of acrylic rods to dip in the supplied glow-in-the-dark paint and apply for the different sizes.

Sitting in the middle of the bed it covered our relatively small bedroom ceiling, in a way that kinda compresses the night sky view. Still fun to lie there and find the constellations though.

It is an incandescent bulb. I tried putting a green LED in it for a little more light, and it was funny to see the weird shape of the LED "filament" projected on the ceiling. Modern white LEDs may have a slightly better shaped emissive pattern, but the green LED did not do it.

If you just wanted to use it as a projector you could wire it to an AC adapter, though it isn't that bright, but it is a cheap way to get close and you might be able to wire a better light source up if you can find something with the right emitter shape.
posted by straw at 2:24 PM on October 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

This one seems close to what you're looking for. I used this search, if you'd like to see more.
posted by evilDoug at 2:42 PM on October 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

I've enjoyed one of these for many years. It projects a trippy moving green starfield and a blue nebula that, with a little imagination, becomes the Milky Way or somewhere Khan might be lurking to ambush the Enterprise. At night it's effective even in a living room with only an 8 foot ceiling because it projects on the walls, too, and the room disappears. The first link from evilDoug looks like a something similar in a more modern case. The aesthetic is definitely Barbarella rather than The Expanse, though, so if you're looking for astronomical accuracy you probably want a planetarium instead.
posted by drdanger at 3:27 PM on October 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Wow, the website straw links above is a real blast from the past! A set like that looks interesting, but my searches just turn up a lot of stickers. I couldn't find a way to buy Starroom - but I think that might be worth pursuing if you want more accurate constellations (and I think I do too!)...
posted by sedimentary_deer at 4:06 PM on October 1, 2021

I have Sega Planetarium so can answer Pantalaimons question. I think it works well in the smaller rooms with lower ceiling. The light bulb is fairly weak so it’s at its best when all the light is blocked. Having said all that it’s such a delight! Sega has an option to turn on falling stars and for it to automatically turn off when you want. You can also get additional disks for other hemispheres. I love mine!
posted by A! at 10:46 PM on October 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Hope this is not too much of a derail (if so, I can ask mod to delete and message separately) A! - what kind of thing do you use yours for? Do you have it on in the background or do you purposefully turn it on to watch?
posted by sedimentary_deer at 10:54 PM on October 1, 2021

As the light is very faint there is not much else that you can do while the planetarium is on, and still see the stars. I usually put mine on before sleep so I appreciate that there is an option where it turns itself off. I also have the disc with constellations outlined that I find educational.
posted by A! at 1:15 AM on October 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: sedimentary_deer: just thinking it would be nice to see a bunch of stars in my living room for a few minutes before I go to bed, and when I wake up in the middle of the night to go pee. Seriously, that's all there is to it.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:50 PM on October 23, 2021

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