Skywatch from Pilikula

Rarely a few have remained untouched by the beauty of a star-lit night and a planetarium is one such model for representing the solar system. A planetarium is built primarily for presenting shows about astronomy, night sky and also to provide information about the celestial objects.

Have you ever looked at the night sky and wondered about the universe. There are possibilities to learn about astronomy and explore the celestial objects in solar system through planetarium. With the government approving the setting up of a planetarium at Pilikula, the Mangaloreans now have an opportunity to learn about the celestial objects.
Speaking to City Herald, Pilikula Science Centre Director Dr K V Rao said that through planetariums, scientific temper can be instilled among children and adults alike. The planetarium which will come up in Pilikula will be bigger than the planetarium in Bangalore. This is the second planetarium which will come up in Karnataka. The dome diameter will be 15 metre, he informed.

He said the proposed planetarium will come up at the cost of Rs 15.5 crore. This planetarium will be equipped with modern technologies and will have a seating capacity of 230 persons at a time.

“We will install hybrid system which will not only provide flexibility to change the programme but also will have sharper sound and light system along with the sharper obejects to see.” The State government had released Rs one crore in the last budget.
The remaining money will be released in a phased manner.
About Rs 4.5 crore will have to be mobilised locally through the help of donors by the Pilikula Nisargadhama Society. Of which, Rs 1.5 crore has been reserved for the land acquisition. The planetarium will come up in three acre land in Pilikula and will be situated adjacent to the Regional Science Centre which is coming up in the region.

Maintenance

Once set up, the planetarium will be maintained by the Pilikula Nisargadhama Society. In fact, the proposal of the planetarium was prepared one-and-half years ago. After evaluation by the experts, the proposal was approved by the government in February, 2011.

“As the planetarium would be situated next to the Regional Science Centre, the maintenance cost will be less. As the parking facility and the electricity will be used for both the places; the maintenance cost will be comparatively less,”  said Pililuka Nisargadhama Executive Director J R Lobo.

Dr Rao said the slide projectors, video projectors, special effect projectors will also be used for the shows. The planetarium will also have telescope, binoculars and so on.

Once developed, the planetarium can constantly try innovative ways to keep the interest of its visitors alive, like holding live interaction sessions, active programmes and a number of workshops for school and college students, as well as amateur astronomers.

The detailed project report  (DPR) will be prepared on the planetarium by an expert consultant. After the DPR, civil works will begin and later supplier will have to be identified to supply the necessary technical materials for the planetarium, Dr Rao added.

The planetarium will also have astronomy models, giant colour pictures of galaxies and other thematic instruments for display. Curious students can also measure their weight as it would be on Jupiter and Mars. The educational and colourful displays of the solar system, brief write up on space and space travel and interactive sessions about science and astronomy will be part of planetarium.

The planetarium will act as an astronomy laboratory which will provide astronomy information, basic astronomy, education on celestial objects and also help to identify the most prominent constellations. It will have regular shows, special shows during eclipses, transit of venus, mercury on sun, simple meteor showers and so on along with activities on astronomy.

One can discover the world of wonder and excitement, explore the vastness of the universe, find constellations and travel deep into the world through this planetarium once it is fully functional.

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