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Indian Institute of Astrophysics to establish Cosmology Center and a Planetarium in Mysuru

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COSMOS will host India’s first planetarium with Digistar 7 system and a Domex Screen. 

Indian Institute of Astrophysics is the nodal agency for setting up of COSMOS, while the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, Government of India are all extending financial & technical support. It is noteworthy here to mention that Ms. Nirmala Sithraman (the current Finance Minister of India) supported the idea of setting up a planetarium which was proposed by her former Personal Secretary, a Karnataka-cadre IAS Officer. The idea translated into COSMOS, a 81 Crore INR project, with the support of Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, K.N. Vyas, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Dr. S. Chandrashekar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Prof. Annapurni Subramaniam, Director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru and University of Mysore.

The main objective of the centre is to decentralise astronomical data for wider research. The centre will also provide training to students in machine learning and data science which are proving to be indispensable for researchers across the industries. 

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Outer space can be ecstatic

Nothing intrigues young minds like outer space. The stars, constellations, milkyway, asteroids, black holes and their interplay makes young minds go crazy. The growing childrens’ obsession with space can be harnessed properly through planetariums where children can get to see the space objects in action. They can get all their questions answered as well. 

Stars in the Carina Nebula | Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Role of planetarium in societal development

Children have questions, plenty of them. If their questions are answered at the right time and age, their sharp, thinking minds turn them into philosophers, thinkers, scientists, astronomers, engineers, researchers etc. On the contrary if they don’t get the right answers, their interest, curiosity will die down and they will end up becoming mediocre people when they grow up.

Through planetarium the children can understand how earth revolves around the sun and how earth’s spinning on its own axis can cause day and night. What causes seasons? When it is day in the southern hemisphere, why is it night in the northern hemisphere? Why is there a change in the seasons when we travel along latitude from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere and vice versa? What is the summer solstice? and what is the winter solstice? There is no limit to what can be explained to children through the planetarium.

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What’s new in Mysuru’s planetarium?

‘Cosmos’, the Planetarium coming up on the Mysuru University campus is going to be unique. Apart from regular stuff which all planetariums have, it will have facilities to gaze at the Leh sky from Mysuru itself.

They say sky at Hanle near Leh is clearest in the Indian subcontinent and celestial objects in space are clearly visible through telescopes. The very-high resolution 4k quality live video feed is relayed and the people at the Mysuru Planetarium can see it live without any distortion in the quality.

The telescopes at Hanle generate a large chunk of astronomical data on the real time basis which the Indian astronomers, students and others can use for further analysis. This data will be available to the student community in Mysuru also, using which some will go on to become astronomers, scientists and space researchers.

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What Hanle has got?

Hanle, Leh in Ladakh is at an altitude of 4500 metres from the sea level. At that height, the Indian astronomical observatory agency has put up some of the technologically advanced telescopes – optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes.

It is said that at Hanle, the sky looks so clear and vast that let alone other planets, even the milky way is visible crystal clear when viewed through telescopes.

Planetarium is a boon for all space enthusiasts in Mysuru

Thanks to Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Space enthusiasts, scientists and student community will have a good time gazing at the Leh sky from Mysuru and collect all kinds of information which triggers their imagination.

The cost of the project is Rs. 81 Crores and will likely see the light in March 2023.

Galaxy Cluster SMACS 0723 | Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Tender information

IIA has released the tender for Providing Comprehensive Architectural, Structural and other Engineering Design Consultancy, Project management and Construction Supervision services for setting up of the Planetarium along with necessary infrastructure facilities.

It is proposed to build a State of art – 15 Metres dome Planetarium with 15 degree inclination (Tilt) that can accommodate approximately 130-150 people and is designed to highlight the History of Indian Astronomy along with a mini data research centre, where the students visiting the Planetarium can be educated on the possibilities and potential of studying the stars and galaxies. The planetarium shall also accommodate lecture halls, museum, office of the Director and supporting staff, offices for the scientists and technicians, ticket counter, rest rooms, canteen, parking facility, etc. The work is proposed on a 3.0 acre land allotted by the University of Mysuru (UOM) for establishing Planetarium building and other allied blocks in the University campus at Mysuru city.

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