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Bengaluru’s hi-tech planetarium reopens for viewing cosmos

Bengaluru: The Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium reopened here on Tuesday with a hybrid projector system for a breath-taking view of the universe.

“We have replaced the opto-mechanical projector with a hybrid digital projector for better viewing of the planets in the solar system, galaxies, stars, nebulae and the Milky Way in the outer space,” planetarium Director B.S. Shylaja told reporters.

The Rs 12 crore German equipment with six digital projectors will recreate the sky with images of the cosmos for immersive experience to viewers.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the renovated sky theatre in the presence of space scientist U.R. Rao, Science & Technology Minister M.R. Seetharam and several students from schools and colleges from the city.

“As curiosity for space grows among the people, especially children and youth, the new sky theatre will give them an opportunity to see and learn about planets, stars and galaxies spanning the infinite universe,” said Rao.

Rao, a former chairman of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is also chairman of the governing council of the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE), which runs the 27-year-old planetarium.

The high-tech dome-shaped theatre has also changed the circular seating to unidirectional position for better audio-visual of the cosmic spectacle, with a range of animation, simulation and immersive visualisation.

The planetarium has a collection of 24 documentaries on space, science and technology for regular shows in English and Kannada.

“We will have more documentaries with themes on extra-solar systems and space missions to asteroids, comets and Mars for viewing in real setting,” added Shylaja.

A popular haunt of visitors and tourists to this tech hub, the planetarium in the city centre was shut since March 1, 2016 for the renovation.