Japan, France companies in race to set up planetarium
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Japan, France companies in race to set up planetarium

November 6, 2022

State-of-the-art planetarium to come up at foot of Chamundi Hill on University of Mysore land

Mysore/Mysuru: The works on the country’s first state-of-the-art planetarium to come up at the land belonging to the University of Mysore (UoM) at the foot of Chamundi Hill is expected to commence soon as the global tender process has been completed.

The tender has been shortlisted and Japan and France-based companies are in the race to bag the tender. The hi-tech Planetarium, along with Cosmology Education and Research Centre called ‘COSMOS’, will come up at the Chamundi foothill, for which the UoM had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru in December last year.

A technical team of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics visited the planetarium projects done by the companies that have been shortlisted in Japan and France and gathered inputs on the functioning and maintenance of the planetariums there.

Later, the team presented a report to the Union Government following which one of the two companies will be formally awarded the final contract for the execution of this astronomy project, which is expected to commence as early as the end of this month.

It may be mentioned here that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman laid the foundation stone for the Planetarium and COSMOS on Mar. 6, 2022. The Centre has sanctioned Rs. 81 crore and Nirmala Sitharaman too has announced Rs. 2 crore out of her MP Local Area Development Fund for this project.

The Cosmology Centre will not only feature an ultra-modern planetarium from where one can watch the beautiful midnight skies at faraway places in real time but also train young minds to use Astrophysics related data gathered from different observatories and telescopes in the country for other applications and useful purposes.

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The COSMOS, which hosts India’s first planetarium with Digistar 7 system and a Domex Screen is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, among others.

The planetarium will not only have the current data but also past data will be available to students where they can use it in a guided way with proper teachers, faculties and scientists.

The planetarium will be the first-of-its-kind in the country to have a DOMEX LED dome with technically advanced displays that “will give a real feel of the night skies.” It will also be able to source live data from telescopes all over India as well as archival data.

Astrophysics-related data has its applications even in the fields of transport, health, agriculture and finance. Apart from hosting programmes aimed at promoting young talent, this centre is also expected to attract travellers, particularly school children, from both a scientific and a tourist perspective.

 The real-time planetarium with a playback engine will make an extremely powerful tool for the education and training of students as well as teachers. A comprehensive education and public outreach programme will be an integral part of the COSMOS project and the training comprises processing astronomical data, coding, hands-on experience along with systematic documentation of astronomy.

UoM will be the first University in the country to have a planetarium attached to it, though there are over 40 planetariums in the country, including the one at Bengaluru.

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