Mobile planetarium to make astrophysics fascinating

Smaller version of planetarium can be set up in schools too

The City will soon have a mobile planetarium for popularising astrophysics among students.

The planetarium will be set up by the Indian Astronomy Group (IAG) in association with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Dubai Astronomy Group.

Dr Syeda Kareema Ghouse, president of the IAG, said the mobile planetarium, which she claimed was the first of its kind in the country, would cater to students of all age groups, studying in different classes, depending on their syllabi.

“A dome weighing about 200 kg, which will be a smaller version of a planetarium, will be mounted on a small vehicle and taken to schools to educate students, Dr Ghouse said.
“The planetarium is ideal for teaching astronomy in schools. It is a perfect edutainment solution for schools and space scientists interested in education and public outreach (EPO) can discuss the elements. We have received official approval for the project from school management and welfare committee as well,” she said.

“The lab facility will cater to students from Class 1 onwards, as per their curriculum. The child will have hands-on experience about lessons,” Dr Ghouse who has a doctorate in education says, “Practical knowledge makes science fascinating, and helps increase innovation,” she added.

The dome, eight metres in height and six metres in width, is imported at a cost of Rs 4.7 lakh. It will accommodate 60 students at a time. The project, to be launched by former President A P J Abdul Kalam in March, has a projector. The NASA has approved use of its images and teaching material.

The project has already received a fillip with the ISRO and Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium supporting it. S Satish, the director at the Publications and Public Relations unit of ISRO and C S Shukre, director at JN Planetarium, in their letters dated September, 28, 2010 and October 9, 2010 respectively, have commended the initiative by Dr Ghouse and have promised support for the programme.

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