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International Day of Planetariums II

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International Day of Planetariums

Astronomy is one of the oldest known sciences in the world. The reason would have been the wonder a sky full of stars created in the human mind, and the curiosity that ignited in his mind to comprehend what he saw. From the ancient times, the sky had served the mankind as a clock telling time, as a calendar to know the date, a compass used to find direction. Apart from all these, the sky had been immensely helpful to man to decide the appropriate time for sowing seeds and harvesting and to predict the future based on astrology.

Language alone had not been sufficient in handing down the vast knowledge gathered by man about the sky, from one generation to another. Cave arts provide evidence to support that drawings had also been used for this purpose. Apart from this, man had made use of various other methods to depict star patterns. One such method had been to display star patterns by making holes in the material used for the roof of the tents enabling others to gain knowledge about the night sky even during the daytime.

Irrespective of the fact, whose idea it is to create a planetarium to display an artificial sky, the sky came close to the earth with the launch of the world’s first planetarium projector in October of 1923 in Genna ,Germany. The world’s first planetarium was declared open to the public with the opening of the Deutsches  Museum in Munich, Germany on the 7th of May 1925.

Planetariums set up during the initial stages, were limited to displaying the sun, the moon and the constellations. But with the lapse of time, these planetariums gradually developed to attain such heights that they were able to display meteorites, comets, solar system, milky way, and deep celestial objects. Also, apart from the star projectors, multimedia projectors, three-dimensional projectors and multi-dimensional projectors have also been added to the array of planetarium projectors over time.

As of today, planetariums serve as gateways transporting us into space in an attempt to discover the secrets of the universe while educating us through various audio visual experiences leaving an imprint in our minds. From 1923 up to the present day, planetariums have transformed into unprecedented levels that now they are able to display the whole universe in a realistic manner.  It provides the audiences with the unique experience of boarding a spaceship of your own to land on planets in other universes, and other amazing places in the universe.

At present the number of planetariums in the world exceeds 4000 . Planetariums of today, functions as centres delivering universal audio visual experience combining education, science, culture, arts and entertainment whilst proceeding beyond their primary objective.

The Sri Lanka Planetarium is located on Stanley Wijesundara Mawatha, Colombo 07. This came into being as an observatory erected to observe celestial objects in parallel to the conduct of the industrial exhibition of 1965 under the expert guidance of Dr.A.N.S. Kulasinghe. The planetarium being the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka is one of the largest in the world. The Sri Lanka Planetarium functions as a division under the purview of the State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation. Trilingual programmes are conducted on a daily basis with a view to imparting astronomy and space science related knowledge to the general public encompassing school students, teachers, university students and students pursuing higher education and officers of the tri-armed forces.

Planetariums the world over celebrate the international day of planetariums during the second weekend of March every year. The objective of celebrating the International Day of Planetariums is to make the public aware of Planetariums and their functions, educating them about the problem of light pollution which obstructs sky observations, and fostering cooperation and international exchanges among planetariums of different countries.

The Sri Lanka Planetarium has organized special planetarium shows, programmes, and night sky observation camps for the duration from Saturday, 12th March from 10.00 a.m. up to Sunday, 13th March, to 06.00 a.m with a view to celebrating the International Day of Planetariums.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 March 2022 06:19  

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