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Starry show for Ranchi

Now open, state’s first planetarium
The newly inaugurated planetarium at Chiraundi in Ranchi on Friday
The newly inaugurated planetarium at Chiraundi in Ranchi on Friday
Manob Chowdhary

Vijay Deo Jha   |   Ranchi   |   Published 04.10.19, 07:45 PM

The long cherished dream of the capital for a state-of-the-art star-gazing facility finally came true on Friday with chief minister Raghubar Das inaugurating the planetarium named after ancient Indian astronomer Varahamihira on the premises of the Science City at Chiraundi, around 5km from the city.

The planetarium, constructed at a cost of Rs 26.72 crore, is spread over 2 acres of the 21-acre Science City.

“This is just not centre for amusement; this is going to be a centre of learning,” the chief minister said. “I appeal to people to visit the planetarium with their children. They will learn about astronomy.”

The planetarium can accommodate 145 people per 30-minute show for which the ticket price is Rs 50. The entry was free on Friday, the first day.

“Currently, English has been used for the voiceover during the show,” said GSP Gupta, executive director, Jharkhand Council on Science and Technology (JCST). “But after 10 days we will be using Hindi so that more people understand the information and enjoy the show. The shows will run from 11am to 5pm. Earlier, people of Jharkhand used to visit Calcutta and Patna to enjoy the planetarium. Now they have this facility in Ranchi.”

The planetarium, which has German equipment, has been designed and constructed by Calcutta-based Creative Museum Designers for the JCST. The structure has a central theatre with a 15-metre diameter projection dome with 360° hemispherical projection screen where the sky is projected by a Zeiss ZKP4 star projector. The projector is designed and installed by German company Carl Zeiss AG.

“There are other facilities like an amateur astronomy club for carrying out different astronomical, teaching and exhibition activities. There is also a star-watching facility with a fully automated Celestron telescope,” said Gupta.

Around 1,000 people visited the planetarium on the first day. “This was my first date with a planetarium. It was amazing, I felt like flying through the universe and walking on planets. This is close to my residence and so I can visit the place regularly,” said Suman Kumari, one of the visitors.

Brahmadev Singh, who retired as a geography teacher, enjoyed the show along with his granddaughter.

“Youths were jostling to get seats inside. At last a staff member helped me get a seat. I was keen to visit the planetarium,” he said.

At the Science City, chief minister Das also inaugurated an innovation hub for entrepreneurs built at a cost of Rs 1.8 crore, and the building of Jharkhand Technical University at Namkum.

The government has decided to set up planetariums in Deoghar and Dumka as well, sources said. While the estimate for the Deoghar facility is being worked out, Rs 30 crore has been allocated for Dumka.

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