August 11, 2015
Space Simulator is to Funk Up Pathani Samanta Planetarium
The Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, has been founded for increasing people’s awareness about astronomy, astrophysics and space science. To fulfill its educational objective, the Pathani Samanta Planetarium has introduced such interesting activities as night sky watch, audio visual programs, poster shows and displays of astronomical devices. Furthermore, the institution extends its scientific and financial assistance to those who conduct research in the field of astronomical science and space technology. Housing a well-facilitated library, the Pathani Samanta Planetarium also provides aspirants with a bigger platform where they can interact in the course of international conferences. In the recent years, the Pathani Samanta Planetarium has been converted into a museum which is located in the native place of the great Indian astronomer Pathani Samanta and commemorates his profound scientific contribution. Interestingly, Pathani Samanta made his astronomical discoveries during the period 1835-1904 without telescopes, binoculars or any other proper scientific instruments. Instead he used two bamboo sticks to calculate the movement of planets. These primitive articles are currently placed in the museum along with Pathani Samanta’s bronze statue. Nowadays, the Pathani Samanta Planetarium tries to keep up with the digital time and calls for a worldwide tender to set up a space simulator. Thus, Deputy Director of the Planetarium Suvendu Patnaik is convinced that this innovation will bring authentic space experience to all science lovers and fulldome enthusiasts:
The space simulator is like a bus with 16 or 32 seats. This would be capable of giving the common man an experience of space. The shows are usually 5-7 minutes long. As of now, there are only 2-3 centers in the country that offer this facility. We are setting up this center to attract those visitors who go back due to lack of seats in the planetarium.The proposed simulator is planned to be installed at the new information center of the planetarium. While its ground floor will house the atomic energy center, the upper two floors will be reserved for astronomy and astrophysics. Moreover, the planetarium authorities have stated their willingness to open there a 3D theater to run movies on planets and space. Apart from the new information center, a utility building is also under construction in the planetarium premises. It will contain a restaurant, a souvenir shop, a library and a classroom for students, with a telescope stationed at the terrace. Beyond its modernization, the Pathani Samanta Planetarium is seeking new ways to encourage villagers to learn more about space and is planning to procure two mobile planetariums for the purpose. Equipped with telescopes and generators, these small planetariums will go to schools and colleges and camp there for a week to send the message of science to the youth.
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