Planetariums in India
Birla Planetarium information
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Birla Planetarium

B. M. Birla Planetarium is a large planetarium in Chennai providing a virtual tour of the night sky and holding cosmic shows on a specially perforated hemispherical aluminium inner dome. It is located at Kotturpuram in the Periyar Science and Technology Centre campus which houses eight galleries, namely, Physical Science, Electronics and Communication, Energy, Life Science, Innovation, Transport, International Dolls and Children and Materials Science, with over 500 exhibits. Built in 1988 in the memory of the great industrialist and visionary of India B. M. Birla, it is the most modern planetarium in India. There are two other Birla Planetariums in India, viz., the one in Kolkata known as M. P. Birla Planetarium and the other in Hyderabad, Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore. The planetarium is located in the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre's (TNSTC) Periyar Science and Technology Centre campus on the Gandhi Mandapam Road in Kotturpuram abutting the Central Leather Research Institute campus. It lies close to the Guindy National Park in the predominantly wooded Adyar-Guindy region known as the Green Lungs of Chennai, enabling it to conduct night-sky observation comparatively easily which is otherwise difficult amidst the glaring city lights in the night. Other nearby landmarks include the IIT Madras, Adyar Cancer Institute, Anna University, University of Madras–Guindy campus and the Anna Centenary Library. The nearest railway stations are Kotturpuram MRTS in the northeast and Kasturba Nagar MRTS in the southeast, both located at a distance of 1 km from the planetarium. The Kotturpuram bus stop lies 2 km to the north. The Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre (TNSTC) was established in 1983 and is functioning with the financial assistance of the Government of Tamil Nadu. The centre started its operations in 1988 with the setting up of Periyar Science and Technology Centre and the functioning of the Birla Planetarium. The centre functions under the chairmanship of the minister of education. The planetarium was inaugurated on 11 May 1988 by the then President of India R. Venkataraman. There are about 8 staff at the planetarium. The centre has branches in Coimbatore, Vellore and Trichy. The planetarium conducts sky shows every day at different times in different languages. The shows include the Solar System, sky and seasons, eclipses, Earth, Man on Moon, comets, shooting meteoroids, stellar cycle and the deep sky. As of 2007, since its inception, the planetarium has introduced 35 programmes on these topics. Audio-visual programs on various aspects of astronomy and different cosmic phenomena are also shown. Program themes are changed every 3 months.[9] Shows are conducted in English and Tamil. The planetarium and the Science and Technology Centre is open on all days except on national holidays from 10:00 am to 5:45 pm. The Science and Technology Centre, however, receives complaints on lack of maintenance of the scientific displays at the science park.

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