|Click "HERE" for DS1 Discs
Click "HERE" for Replacement Uncle Milton/Nashica Discs
Click "HERE" for Replacement Homestar Pro/Classic Discs.
|Welcome! If you have reached this section of our website, it is either because
you stumbled upon it or that you are looking for better star discs for your
Planetarium Star projector. How often do we get to view the night sky without
the effects of light pollution? Several manufacturers have come up with
planetarium star projectors which are designed to bring the night sky to your
living room. Some machines are better than others but all of the current star
projectors have one common fault;
the star discs are poor.
This section of our web site is dedicated to those of you who love the night sky.
Perhaps one of the biggest questions that we have is why would a manufacturer
spend 10's of thousands of dollars for design and tooling for their star projectors
only to fall short on the quality of their star discs?? We certainly don't know. We
do know that with one of Miller Engineering's replacement star discs, you will
have one of the truest views of the night possible.
Miller Engineering Star Discs do more than just "Paint" a pretty picture of the
night sky, they offer an accurate representation of the sky above, and make
excellent teaching aids for those interested in learning about astronomy.
|For those of you who know what you want, click on the links at either the top or
bottom of this page for the available star discs from Miller Engineering.
For those of you new to these star machines and in the market for one, we have
included our opinion on a brief run down of the currently available home
planetarium projectors starting from the best to worst.
|Sega Homestar Extra. This is currently the best of the home
planetarium projectors. The field of view is the largest available, the optics are
excellent and available features are numerous. One of the nicest features is the
random shooting star which is very effective. You can set the time and date for
your night time viewing. There are three rotational speeds. The rotation is done
by direct gearing and is silent. Brightness is excellent and the stars have sharp
detail. The discs have a 120,000 star count. We have taken this machine
completely apart and the engineering is excellent.
The negative side of course is the star discs. Although the Homestar Extra discs
are the best on the market, they still represent a far cry from the real night sky.
Stars are scaled very poorly and the actual scale magnitude is very limited, with
many of the stars out of scale and way too large giving an unrealistic projected
There are several additional discs that can be purchased, some have such
features as: constellation figures, aurora borealis, Planet Earth, and a few
others. None of them have much realism; and the sad part is they are designed
for the Homestar, or the Homestar Pro machine which uses a much smaller disc,
so they include an adapter ring to make it fit.
The Homestar Extra is not imported in the USA but there are several companies
in Japan that will export them. Current prices in the USA range from about $480
to over $1,000. Ebay is a good place to get one. The prices are always
changing so keep looking if you are interested. Bottom line here is if you want
the best home planetarium projector, the Homestar Extra is the one to buy.
|Next up is the Uncle Milton Star Theater Pro. This design was
licensed from the original company that designed it in Japan called Nashica.
Their web site is: www.nashica.com/astro/ They still sell it; but as far as we
know it is only sold in Japan with a few showing up occasionally on EBay at a
ridiculous price. The machine is almost identical to the Uncle Milton version.
This machine has excellent brightness. The optics are good but not the greatest
with the focus being somewhat blurry near the edges. We suspect that this is
because of the plastic parts that are used to retain the optics. We have viewed
several machines and no two are the same in this respect.
The rotation of the star disc is by a rubber wheel which can sometimes give a
rather jerky rotation or, if not adjusted correctly from the factory, no rotation.
Features are very basic with only one rotational speed and a timer. The machine
has a nice aesthetic look to it but has a cheap plastic feel to it, especially when
loading the star discs.
As for the star discs… we would have to list them as very unrealistic. This is the
primary reason why the machine really has not received great reviews. But for
those buyers who have not seen anything else, it might be considered
acceptable. The star count on the discs is listed as 10,000 stars.
The price range for the Uncle Milton version is all over the place. We have seen it
as high as $240 (pure robbery!) to a low of $49 on Amazon. The average price is
around $120, which is a fair price for what this machine can do.
|Third on the list is the Sega Homestar projector – This was the first real
consumer Star projector that had any realism to it, not a bad first attempt. It used
a 1 watt LED that projected a pretty dim image. It also had a shooting star, but
alas, it was always projected in the same spot every time. The first time you saw
it you said “WOW”. By the 20th time is was pretty boring. It had a timer and one
rotational speed. The Star disc was driven by a rubber wheel that works better
than the Uncle Milton machine.
The “Homestar” was replaced by the “Homestar Pro” with the only difference
being the LED power was increased to 3 watts, still pretty dim and not as bright
as the Uncle Milton version.
Sega is now offering the original Homestar Classic which now has upgraded the
LED to 3 Watts, which is a big improvement. Unfortunately they did not upgrade
the optics which are quite poor.
The Star discs on both these machines are on par with the Homestar Extra, just
less stars, 10,000 to be exact. Both these machine were way overpriced with
some as high as $240+. Both machines are now out of production.
The “Homestar Pro” has been re-released as the “Homestar 2nd Edtion”. The only
differences are a few extra discs including a planet Earth disc and the stars are
increased to 60,000, which is a good thing. It is still way over priced, and the
better buy is the Uncle Milton machine. This machine is not currently imported in
the USA but can be purchased from several importers, including on EBay. The
Uncle Milton discs will not fit this machine.
|Moving down the ladder, we have the Bresser Astro Planetarium Star
projector. This is a little known machine in the USA, it is also known as the
"Stellar Egg" . It has manual rotation, ie you turn the little wheel in front of the
machine with your finger. There is no shooting star. The star count is 8,000 and
the star disc quality is on par with the Uncle Milton machine…. not very realistic.
One interesting feature is that the projection is oval just like a real planisphere,
nice touch. The cost is $40 to $50, not too bad a price for what it does.
Update: This machine has been updated and now has a 5 speed motorized
rotation and a shooting star feature. The price has been updated also with a
price range from about $100-160.
|Lastly, there are quite a few other planetarium projectors. Some that project
the stars as black dots on the lit background may be good for teaching or
entertaining small children but hardly represent the night sky. These are made
by Discovery Star Theater Home Planetarium, Uncle Milton Star Theater SE,
Discovery Exclusive Ultimate Star Planetarium, Space Theater Planetarium,
National Geographic, etc.
|Miller Engineering is offering replacement star discs for the Homestar Extra,
Homestar Pro and Uncle Milton/Nashica machines. The other currently
available star projectors just do not have enough light output to make use of
our star discs.
Miller Engineering has worked for over 2 years to bring what we believe are
the most accurate, highly detailed star discs that have ever been produced for
the home market. Several of our star discs have over 1.2 million stars. What
started off as a simple project to improve the current stars discs has turned
into a two year quest for perfection.
The current crop of star projectors range from 8,000 to 120,000 stars. Most of
them have a child like appearance which leaves many a buyer rather
disappointed. We assure you that when you view one of our star discs you will
have the closest view of the real thing currently available in any home
You might ask why our discs are so expensive? Some of our B&W discs have
over 1.2 million stars that are plotted from a master lithography disk using the
same process used for Integrated Circuit fabrication. Every disc is plotted from
a master file. We do not and can not make a copy of the star discs from a
master plot. We have tried; and a great amount of detail is lost at this high
resolution. Our star discs are so good you can look at them with a pair of low
power opera glasses and still have a good view.
Below are the links for Miller Engineering's available discs.
|Click "HERE" for DS1 Disc
Click "HERE" for Replacement Uncle Milton/Nashica Discs..
Click "HERE" for Replacement Homestar Pro Dics.
|We have just released our DS1 Home Planetarium. For further
information click "Here"
|We have learned that the Uncle Milton Star Theater Pro has been
discontinued, the Japanese version by Nashica is still available.