I was one of the unfortunate kid who missed good chances to go to Birla Planetarium and Peiyar Science and Technology park during my school days, since then it has been an unfulfilled wish for a very long time. There was many times I plan to go there and forget about it later. It was due for a very long time to visit there, even after I finished my college and joined work. One day while I was talking to my BUDDY and BOSS (not my boss but we call him that way) at work randomly this thing topic came in middle and we deicide that we will visit there in weekend. Even though we planned for a visit we ended up visiting there twice and the story as follows.
Before the story some information about the place,
It was established in the year 1988 and maintained by TamilNadu Science and Technology Centre with a core aim of popularizing science and technologies among the general public in the urban and rural areas. It is located on Gandhi Mandapam Road and very near to Guindy Park, IIT Madras, Anna University, Madras University Guindy Campus and Anna Centenary Library. Nearest railway stations are KasthuriBhai Nagar (MRTS) and Kotturpuram (MRTS) [Source:Wikipedia]
It has got science parks and galleries themed Physical Science, Transport, Electronics & Communication, Energy, Materials Science, Life Science, Innovation, International Dolls and Children with lots of exhibits which would amuse kids if they are interested in science and stuffs, Unfortunately they weren’t properly maintained and most of them doesn’t even work. It also has a small 3D theater, but the short movies (10 mins) which they screen looks like late 80’s game animations. The galleries are open from 10 am to 5.45 pm and they charge fee of Rs.45 for adults and Rs.25 for children as a package which includes access to Science Center Galleries, Science Park, 3D Theater and Planetarium. Updated timings for Planetarium shows are as follows.
Next is the planetarium building. It has a planetarium theater and a circumferential hall of fame around the theater where lots of exhibits related to space are displayed. The air-conditioned planetarium theater got a capacity of 236 but unfortunately some seats where broken. It is equipped with two different kind of projectors, one is a old OptoMechanical GOTO GM II starfield projector (they are also called as Zeiss Projectors) and the another is a new digital spherical mirror dome projector. And that’s the reason why we visited there twice.
When we visited there for the first time (on 08.06.2013) we could get tickets only for the 4.30 show in which they used the digital projector. The show was good and it was about chances of extra terrestrial life, but was quiet disappointed that we could experience the starfield projector which we were expecting. While we exit we made up our mind that we will visit again shortly and see the starfield projector in action.
After couple of weeks (on 22.06.2013) we visited there again and made sure that we got tickets for the 2.30 show which uses starfield projector. The show was good and it was in Tamil, This time it was all about telescopes and how different type of telescopes helped mankind to explore space an all. While i was there i could revisit myself, when i was a science enthusiastic kid during my school days, was looking at the dome with my eyes wide open recollecting lots of things like moons of Jupiter and Saturn, working principle of Newtonian Telescope etc.
It was indeed a good experience to be there. Happy that one of my long time wish got fulfilled. I also wish that the Science Park and Planetarium gets updated and maintained properly by the government, If so it would attract many visitors and play a vital role in creating interest and awareness on science and technologies.