M. P. Birla Planetarium

The M. P. Birla Planetarium started functioning from September 29, 1962 as an educational, scientific and research institution and was formally inaugurated on July 2, 1963 by the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This was the second major planetarium to be set up in the commonwealth countries with London having a planetarium a few years earlier.

Syt. M. P. Birla was the driving force for setting up the M. P. Birla Planetarium. The Planetarium, since its inception, has designed and presented to the public and students more than 300 astronomical projects dealing with many facets of astronomy, astrophysics, celestial mechanics, space science, history of astronomy as well as mythology concerning stars and planets. The Planetarium has also been conducting a series of graded school programmes for children of various age groups.

Almost from the very beginning of this institution, it has been conducting a Free Evening Course in Astronomy. This course has turned out to be extremely popular over the years and citizens from all walks of life in the age range of 18 - 80 years join this 10 month, once a week, course. In the year 1993 it introduced a Post-Graduate Diploma Course in Astronomy & Planetarium Sciences for graduate students with physics and mathematics background who are interested in knowing the subject of astronomy & astrophysics in greater detail. M. P. Birla Planetarium is unique because of its focus not only on edutainment but also in astronomy popularization, teaching and research. Due to the research activities in different branches of astrophysics & cosmology carried out at the Planetarium and also because of its tremendous efforts in spreading the knowledge of astronomy among school and college students, the M. P. Birla Institute of Fundamental Research under whose aegis the Planetarium functions has been recognized by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO).

The M. P. Birla Planetarium, over the last five decades of its existence has hosted national and international seminars in astronomy and connected fields and has been regularly organizing astronomical expeditions for the studies of eclipses and other celestial events. The Planetarium produces multimedia shows and special public awareness programmes. The faculty members regularly attend national and international conferences and workshops and deliver lectures at different schools, colleges and universities to motivate further interest and popularize activities in astronomy and astrophysics including celestial events and space sciences.

The Planetarium is equipped with an electronics laboratory for design and fabrication of scientific modules and exhibits. Another feature of the M. P. Birla Planetarium, which makes it unique, is the practice of interaction of their experts on the subject with enthusiast general public and school students providing them an opportunity to learn more.

After about 55 years of uninterrupted working the renovated M P Birla Planetarium opened its door to a fascinating journey in cosmos with its new makeover with a central Star projector, the Starmaster ZMP, manufactured by Carl Zeiss, Germany with the capability of simulating the natural night sky, upto 6.55 M. almost the same number of stars that an unaided human eye would see in a dark night sky.

Over 8000 stars produced by the Starmaster, every star is being produced by a unique optical fibre that enhances the brightness, thereby bringing the contrast much closer to nature.

Excellent representation of the Milky Way, star clusters & nebulae with accurate simulation of more than 10,000 years of star positioning in BC & AD in perfect astronomical accuracy takes the viewers to a breathtaking journey… A digital fulldome projection system is combined with Starmaster with interlaced technology that enables accurate hybrid synchronisation.

Digital projectors from Carl Zeiss, Germany titled “VELVET” designed to produce the true “Black” of the night sky fills up the dome with more than 36 mega pixel. The brilliant colour & resolution, more than 5K produced by the VELVET projectors adds a feather to the modernised dome at M P Birla Planetarium.

Some Important Features:

Hybrid Projector: Star Master ZMP Opto Mechanical coupled with 9 Ultra High Resolution VELVET Digital projectors

Dome: 23 metre diameter AstroTec (USA), made from high precision perforated Aluminum sheets

Seats: 570 push back progressively reclining seats in concentric arrangement

Astronomical gallery with interactive exhibits, Seminar hall equipped with smart board, Classroom & Library (for enrolled Students)