Nehru Planetarium is the name given to five planetariums in India, named after India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. These are located in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore, plus there is a Jawahar Planetarium in Allahabad. Nehru Planetarium in Pune was the first one in Asia, established in 1954.
The Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi is situated on the grounds of Teen Murti Bhavan, officially known as 'Nehru Memorial Museum and Library', earlier the official residence of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and now a museum in his memory. In 1964, the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund was set up to promote his ideas and it undertook to build the Nehru Planetarium with its aim being the promotion of astronomy education. This planetarium, like its namesake in Mumbai, was also inaugurated by Smt. Indira Gandhi on 6 February 1984. One of the major attractions of this place is the Soyuz T-10 which carried India’s first cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma to space, along with his space suit and mission journal.
The Sky Theater shown at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium are very popular and attract about more than 200,000 visitors per year.The sky theater is a dome shaped theater . It shows information on constellations,planets . Visuals such as Cartoons, Paintings, Computer animations, video clippings and special effects are liberally used in the programmes at the sky theater.
The planetarium was reopened in September 2010, after renovations worth Rs. 11 crore, ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and received Queen's Baton. It now has 'Definiti optical star projector “Megastar” that can show 2 million stars. It also sets up old telescopes, projection boxes and solar filters at its premises at major Solar eclipses.
The Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai, a part of the Nehru Centre, Mumbai, was inaugurated on 3 March 1977 by the then Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi. Over the years, this has grown into a Centre for scientific study of astronomy and space science. The planetarium is equipped with a Digistar 3 planetarium projector which was installed in 2003, replacing the earlier Carl Zeiss Universal Projector.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru was founded by Bangalore City Corporation in 1989. Since 1992 it is managed by the newly formed Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE). The Planetarium has a 15 m. diameter dome with a seating capacity of 210. It is equipped with a German Carl Zeiss 'Space master' Planetarium projector. The planetarium is located on Sir. T. Chowdaiah Road and there is a Science center and a Science park in the premises.
The projector at this planetarium projects the night sky on the dome as seen by naked eye. This projector can also project the pictures of constellations. This projector at this planetarium is not only used for shows but also for teaching astronomy. There are slide projectors, video projectors and special effect projectors also for the shows.
The Sky Theater shows at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium are very popular and attract about more than 2 lakh visitors per year. Visuals such as Cartoons, Paintings,. Computer animations, video clippings and special effects are liberally used in the programmes at the sky theater.
The Sky-theater programme at this planetarium is supported by exhibition of posters at exhibition hall. The posters have various details which cannot be shown in the Sky-theater programme. These exhibitions are of high educational value for those who are interested to learn much more and deeper in the subject of astronomy. The exhibits at this exhibition hall of Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium include Astronomy Photographs, Cartoons, Paintings and Quotations.
We can also see the giant color pictures of the Galaxies on display at the exhibition hall of this planetarium. We can also see a set of paintings and sculptures on the permanent display. One more interesting thing is the weighing scale which shows our weight on all of the planets and also gives print-out. One Science kiosk donated by IBM company is also installed in the Exhibition hall. The exhibition area houses a stall where one can buy books, science kits, models, telescopes, astro-photos, etc.
There is a Science Park around the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium at Bangalore. The visitors to this planetarium will have an opportunity to learn some elements of science in a natural and playful manner due to the science park at the planetarium. The Science park creates the right scientific ambiance around the activities conducted at the Science Center. Some of the models on display at the Science park of this planetarium are the models of D.N.A., Resonant Swings, Whispering Dishes, Sun Dial, Giant Kaleidoscope, Model of a PSLV rocket.
The Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA) is an independent association housed in the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Bangalore. Members of the association meet once a week on Sundays at 6:00 pm. Access to the books and workshop is open during this time. Members also have informal ideas exchange, night sky watching through telescopes and other activities. One of the important activities of ABAA is the telescope building. Members of ABAA do night sky observation, astro-photography, etc. - from "Shivanahalli" 35 km from Bangalore where they have a 12" telescope amongst others to do observations.
Some of the events that take place at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium:
Viewing of special astronomical events: Arrangements are made at the planetarium for the public to view comets, solar eclipses and planetary transitions. Portable telescopes are arranged in the open area for the public to watch the event. During live coverage of such events happening elsewhere, video projectors are used to project the coverage on large screen for the public to see.
Know Your Stars: This is the activity that takes place on the evening of first Sunday of every month. This event begins with a lecture session in the sky-theater where the sky of that night is simulated. It introduces the night-sky viewing and also the celestial highlights of the month. The stars, constellations are identified. All visitors are provided with the star chart of that day and they are taught how to use it. The lecture is followed by viewing of the Moon, planets and stars in the open sky through telescopes manned by amateur astronomers.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bangalore also conducts educational activities for the benefit of science students. These activities include interesting experiments on atmospheric pressure, rocket launch, speedometer and so on. The classes are held for high school children and B. Sc. (Bachelor of Science) students on weekends between 10.30 AM and 4.30 PM.
Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi
- "Asia's oldest planetarium to reopen". The Times of India. Aug 9, 2011.
- "Features" on Press Information Bureau of India
- "Nehru Planetarium ready to receive the Queen's Baton". The Hindu. Sep 30, 2010.
- "Nehru Planetarium all set for the eclipse". The Hindu. Jul 22, 2009.
- "Children throng Nehru Planetarium for glimpse of eclipse". The Times of India. Jan 16, 2010.
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