The Telegraph
Saturday , July 5 , 2014
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Dome-tech boost for planetarium

MP Birla Planetarium is set to get a new dome and projection system that would give visitors a sense of travelling through the solar system.

Harsha Vardhan Lodha, the chairman of the MP Birla Group, said on Friday the planetarium would be upgraded at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore, which will make “the MP Birla Planetarium in Calcutta among the most advanced planetariums in the world”.

“The upgrade will give our viewers vivid, vibrant, colourful and dynamic images of the celestial objects.... which is only possible through a digital projection system,” Lodha said, while speaking at the finale of the South Point diamond jubilee celebrations and annual prize distribution ceremony at the Science City auditorium.

The upgrade will start towards the end of the year and be over by the middle of next year.

“The new system will not only produce sharper and brighter night sky but will work in tandem with an integrated digital system which will make the sky dynamic.... The experience will be as if people will be transported to the moon itself,” said Debiprasad Duari, director, academic and research, MP Birla Planetarium.

Once the advanced system is installed, Duari said, viewers will no longer see the images of the moon and other astronomical objects as dots of light, which they do now. In the new projection system, viewers will be able to experience something similar to travelling to the celestial objects and seeing their features first hand.

A “new and advanced” inner dome of the planetarium will allow the creation of a more realistic space experience. “After 52 years of operation, it was decided we should get a new instrument to cater to the expectations of the student community,” said Duari.

Health care plans

Lodha said the MP Birla group is expanding its footprints in Bengal’s health care sector. Belle Vue Clinic, he pointed out, has acquired a two-acre plot in New Town, where the group plans to set up a nursing school and a nursing college, along with a second campus of MP Birla Eye Clinic and Priyamvada Birla Aravind Eye Hospital.

“Our group through our various institutions will spend more than Rs 250 crore in the next two-and-a-half years towards uplifting the education and health care set-up in Calcutta,” said Lodha.