Hi-tech planetariumset to reopen today

Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the renovated Indira Gandhi Science Complex Planetarium, popularly known as Taramandal, on Wednesday.

Thanks to extensive renovation work that stretched for more than two years, visitors will now be able to embark on an enriching cosmic journey at the planetarium and enjoy 3-D (dimensional) videos of planets, stars and constellations on the hanging dome-shaped screen.

The planetarium screening area has been upgraded from celluloid films to mirage RGB (red, green, blue) pure laser projection system to let audience experience both 2D and 3D shows. According to a planetarium official, the new projection system was imported from Germany. “Six 4k projectors have been strategically placed – four for panorama and two for zenith. The 5.1 surround sound will give deep immersive and cinematic experience to the visitors with unidirectional seating,” the official added.

Altogether 200 people can watch the astronomy and space science show at a time. The circular gallery has push-back seats so that the viewers can get the right angle to watch the shows. Apart from this, a new dome-shaped hanging screen (16m diameter) with high resolution has also been installed in the screening area.

Durgesh Tiwari, a planetarium official, said six to seven shows would be screened between 11am and 7pm. “One has to shell out Rs 100 for 3D shows. Children in the age group of 6-14 years will have to pay Rs 60. For 2D shows, people above 15 years of age will have to pay Rs 80 and children (6-14 years) Rs 50. Students in group (above 20 students) will have to pay Rs 10 for 2D and Rs 20 for 3D shows. Each show will be of 30-35 minutes,” he added.

A new gallery – ‘Astronomy and Space’ – has been set up on the first floor by the science and technology department. It has seven themes – universe, galaxy (milky way), stars, solar system, beyond solar system, life in space and astronomy-national and international.

The old projector and screen have been stored in this gallery with details.

Kumar Ravi, secretary of the building construction department, said the old building was retrofitted and renovated with an expenditure of around Rs 27 crore. An auditorium with modern facilities, a cafeteria and a lounge for VIPs have been constructed on the ground floor of the building. The planetarium will also have a geographical information system laboratory and a library,” he added.

A G+2 guesthouse has been built. It has eight rooms, including four suites.

“The surrounding areas of the planetarium have been beautified through landscaping, façade lights, travertine stone, granite stone and structural glazing, Italian marble flooring, Italian marble drywall cladding and SS railing have also come up. The entire building has been air-conditioned with variable refrigerant flow system,” Ravi said.

A high-capacity optical telescope will soon be set up on the planetarium premises. It is being procured through the National Council of Science Museums at Rs 10 lakh.

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