Spend an evening stargazing at Chennai’s Birla’s Planetarium and watch the cosmos in comfort. Discover the solar system and its wonders by going on a virtual tour of the sky at night and marvel at cosmic beauty beyond our line of sight. Located in Kotturpuram, in the Periyar Science and Technology Centre campus, this show is a treat for families and astronomy aficionados alike. The Periyar Center contains eight other galleries themed Physical Science, Transport, Electronics & Communication, Energy, Materials Science, Life Science, Innovation, International Dolls and Children as well as the planetarium. Rest assured that there’s a lot to explore and discover. There are just two other Birla Planetariums in India, one in Kolkata and one in Hyderabad.
Built in 1988 as a memorial for the great Indian industrialist and visionary B.M Birla, it is filled with state of the art equipment. A perforated hemispherical dome, made out of aluminum is transformed into a space screen and highly sophisticated projectors create images from out of this world. Special effects emulating space phenomena results in a marriage of science and visual magic. The comfortable, air conditioned theatre can seat about 236. The planetarium has a 360 degree sky theater, the very first in India. Portraits of Neil Armstrong, Sunita Williams and KalpanaChawla adorn the hall of fame wall.
Additionally, courses in astronomy are available here. Program themes are changed every few months and shows are conducted at different times of the day, in different languages. The show includes space phenomena such as meteor showers, the Milky Way, stellar cycles and comets. A Space Gallery is going to be installed soon. A stroll through the Science Park is worth a go as well. Children will love the place as there are tiny toy cars, controlled by electronic signals zooming around.
The energy and eco-park displays the way solar energy, wind energy and biogas work in creating and conserving energy. A forest lies in the eco-park with simulated flora and fauna. A Meteorological Observatory proved eye candy as well as brain food. There are numerous sights and experiences for both knowledge hunters and fun seekers. The interactive set up is a sure win with kids and the technology is advanced enough to strike up interest in anyone. Visiting the planetarium is a great way to spend a day. Just be sure to visit on a night with clear skies and prepare to be surprised!
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