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Home > City Resources > Education > Nehru Planetarium
 Nehru Planetarium  

Its technical details and activities

The Nehru Planetarium, commissioned on 3rd March, 1977, has grown into a centre for the scientific study of astronomy and as a meeting place for scientists and scholars to hold discussions and lectures. These programmes include Science quiz contests, Astro-painting, Science elocution, Astro-poetry and Astro-quiz competitions. Special arrangements are made to watch, study and photograph Solar & Lunar eclipses, and many other astrological events. Telescopes are installed outside the Planetarium to enable eager visitors to watch these phenomena. The Planetarium is running its 26th sky theatre programme which was inaugurated on January 22nd, 2000, namely "Astronomy of the Millennium".

Mumbaibest visited Nehru Planetarium, and spoke to Jyotikumar K. Jani, Senior Planetarium Engineer in order to understand the working of the Planetarium.

What is the concept of a planetarium?

A planetarium is a place where one can keep a close watch on various heavenly bodies such as stars, the sun, the moon, planets and their satellites. Generally, various kind of instruments are used for this purpose. It is also a place where people can learn about the planets and other bodies in space.

Can you tell me something about the instruments used during programmes at the planetarium?

The main instruments are the same as those in movie theatres, with some differences. Lamps, lenses, a screen and projectors are the main instruments used during the Planetarium shows. An aluminum perforated screen is placed upside down and used to focus and project the picture onto the screen from the ground. This is to give the impression that the viewer is actually watching the sky from earth. The screen shape has to be hemispheric to bring about this impression.

What kind of projector is used?

There are basically two types of projectors - the main projector and the additional projectors. The main projector is further made up of 110 projectors. Also, 150 additional projectors are used with the main projector. There are also many more types of projectors based on the size of the theatre and the diameter of its dome.

The Universal Planetarium Projector is used in a hall which accommodates 600/700 people and the diameter of the dome is 24 metres. The Universal Space Master Projector (Universal Space Flight Projector) is used within a theatre of 200/300 seating capacity with a dome whose diameter varies between 12 to 15 metres.

Are all Projectors made in India?

The Main Projector is not available in India. Generally countries like Japan (GOTO Company), U.S.A, and Germany manufacture these instruments. Nehru Planetarium uses a German made Main projector made by a company called Carlzeiss. Additional Projectors are Indian made. All projectors have been maintained by Indian technicians over the last twenty five years.

What are the activities of the Nehru Planetarium?

The Nehru Planetarium has produced 25 Sky Theatre Programmes on Astronomy. Besides that, it conducts lectures, seminars, astronomy courses, workshops , quiz contests and exhibitions on astronomy and space. Telescopes are kept outside for watching the sky. A mobile mini Planetarium is taken to rural areas. Sometimes staff members produce Live Sky Theatre shows on topics like "The Universe at your Finger Tips", "Navigational Astronomy" and "Secrets of a Planetarium".

Author : Mahagyany
Photographer : Vinayak Prabhu


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