BHUBANESWAR: A mini space observatory will soon come up at Pathani Samanta Planetarium here to enhance the experience of visitors in celestial events. Deputy director of the Planetarium Subhendhu Pattnaik said the mini-space observatory would replace the existing telescope which is six inches in diameter and capable of showing celestial events to only one person at a time.
The mini-space observatory will have an optical telescope of 14 inch diameter. It will also have a system through which celestial events can be displayed on a bigger screen. The optical telescope will allow hundreds of people to watch any astronomical event at the same time. Patnaik said the observatory will also help increase footfall at the planetarium during celestial events.
The project will, however, take some time to materialise. A dome shaped structure has to be build for the mini-observatory and higher budget allocation is required for the purpose, he said. For a standard space observatory, the diameter of the optical telescope has to be at least half metre. “Setting up these observatories will be too expensive. In view of this, the Government has planned to set up a mini-observatory with a bigger telescope,” Pattnaik said.
Meanwhile, the planetarium will also install space simulator and 3D theatre on its premises. “IIDCO has already submitted its building plan for the project which will take at least two years to complete,” he said. The space simulator will let visitors have the experience of travelling in space.
The equipment for space simulator and 3D theatre will cost around `1 crore while `2 crore is needed for construction of the building. Planetarium authorities said they have prepared a detailed blueprint for the development and expansion of the planetarium. An amount of `25 lakh will be spent on revival of the astronomy park on the campus. Earlier, it was announced that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Ahmedabad will set up a Space Science Gallery at the Information Centre built on the planetarium premises.