Birla Planetarium

Birla Planetarium
India     West Bengal     Kolkata

The Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, is a single-storeyed circular structure designed in the typical Indian style, whose architecture is loosely styled on the Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. Situated at Chowringhee Road adjacent to the Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Maidan in South Kolkata, it is the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest planetarium in the world. There are two other Birla Planetariums in India: B.M. Birla Planetarium in Chennai and the Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad. Popularly known as taramandal, the planetarium was inaugurated on 2 July 1963[4] by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. It has an electronics laboratory for design and fabrication of science equipment. It has an astronomy gallery that maintains a huge collection of fine paintings and celestial models of renowned astronomers. The Planetarium also has an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 Telescope with accessories such as ST6 CCD camera and solar filter. It offers to the public and students more than 100 astronomical projects dealing with various facts of astronomy, astro-physics, Space Science as well as myths concerning stars and planets. It has a capacity of 680. Daily programs are conducted in English, Bengali and Hindi from 12:00 to 19:00 hrs. The show timing is as follows: Mon to Sat - 12.30 PM HINDI, 1.30 PM ENGLISH, 2.30 PM HINDI, 3.30 PM BENGALI, 4.30 PM HINDI, 5.30 PM BENGALI, 6.30 PM ENGLISH and two extra show on Sunday and Holiday is 10.30 AM HINDI, 11.30 AM BENGALI (updated on 15.08.2017) Programs are occasionally conducted in Oriya, Tamil and Gujarati, as well.[5] Extra shows are arranged on holidays. The Planetarium was constructed by ML Dalmiya & Co. which is owned by Board of Control for Cricket in India former President late Jagmohan Dalmiya. It reopended to public on 18 July 2017, after closing down for 28 months of renovations work. The new planetarium system for the Birla Planetarium is a so-called ZEISS Hybrid Planetarium, with the STARMASTER, an optical-mechanical planetarium projector (also called “Starball”) working in synch with a dome video display system. The Starball presents the most realistic starfield in the dome with superimposed images of constellation outlines, space objects like nebula and galaxies, planets and moons by the VELVET digital video system, called fulldome projection. The technical upgrade was delivered and installed by the German company Carl Zeiss AG.

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