The sky-gazing experience of Puneites is set to touch new heights, as the city will soon be home to a brand new and one-of-a-kind planetarium.
Being built at the cost of approximately Rs 57 crore, the planetarium will house high-end equipments and instruments imported from Germany and USA, and is expected to begin operations by June.
Officials at Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), which is spear-heading this science facility, are hopeful of attracting not just students but also tourists to the planetarium.
It is set to be erected adjacent to the Science Park complex along the old Mumbai-Pune Highway.
“The planetarium is being built using one of the finest technologies. We hope to make it one of the most popular tourists spots in the city,” PCMC Commissioner Dinesh Waghmare told The Indian Express.
The civic body is constantly in touch with eminent cosmologist Jayant Naralikar, who has been involved with this project at every stage.
The construction is nearing completion, following which equipments will be installed and the planetarium would be ready for trials, he added.
The new facility will have a seating capacity of 165 persons and is pitched to be one of the most advanced planetariums in the country, having advanced digital screening capacities, called hybrid projection technology.
The biggest advantage of this projection mode, according to experts, is the image clarity.
“With this technology, start-gazing experience would be more real and would help explaining various astronomical phenomena better,” said NT Kasar, education officer at Science Park.
Very few planetariums in the country have this upgraded hybrid projection, said Arvind Paranjpye, director, Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai.
“One of the main reasons for this is the high cost — it is almost double than the existing pin-hole set-up. Using hybrid projection, digital images of very high resolution can be showcased, making the experience more livelier,” he added.
The civic body has confirmed to keep the entry for sky-gazing shows at nominal prices, to attract maximum visitors. Additionally, the planetarium building will also house a cafeteria, an auditorium and an activity centre for the convenience of the visitors.