The time has come for us to explore the wonders of the universe together. What? With a shuttle? No, of course not! We are going to do it via the exquisite man-made planetariums that offer us thorough glimpses of what really is out there. We cannot promise that you won’t believe in the plausibility of alien life after visiting some of the establishments that we are going to list, for truly, the understanding of the vastness of the universe draws into perspective the inevitable perspective that speaks in its favour. But enough of Exobiology, let’s get to the down-to-earth aspect of this article (wink)!
1. Adler Planetarium:
Dedicated to the study of astronomy and even astrophysics, the Adler Planetarium of Chicago, Illinois (USA) was the first one to be established in America. Located at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, the planetarium was built by master architect Ernest Grunsfeld, Jr. in 1930. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, the establishment harbours three full-scale theatres, vast space science exhibition spaces and even a section that has artefacts pertaining to the historical study of the stars. What you’ll be delighted to hear is that it boasts with the only research-active public observatory of the region, the Doane Observatory. Notable exhibitions include: Planet Explorers, Our Solar System, The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time, The Historic Atwood Sphere, Telescopes: Through The Looking Glass, Mission Moon, Astronomy in Culture, Bringing Heavens To Earth, Universe in Your Hands, and, finally, the Space Visualization Laboratory (also known as simply the SVL). We encourage you to spend as much time as possible at each of the aforementioned sections for they are simply awe-inspiring (not to mention educational).
2. Nagoya City Science Museum:
We all know how Japan is always up to par when it comes to innovation and technology. Well, the country proves its value once again with its Nagoya City Science Museum (Nagoya City), for it boasts with the largest planetarium in the world. If you’ve ever seen a photo of it, you may have discerned its hefty dome with a diameter of 35 metres that blends in with the surroundings in a futuristic fashion. With 350 seats inside, you are surely going to find it to your comfort and liking. Boasting also with numerous hands-on exhibits and some that pertain to general science, the establishment manages to cover a vast array of topics efficiently. You might be interested to know that besides the interactive touchscreen exhibits, there are numerous areas specially tailored for children.
Spain enters the competition with its Valencia-based City of Arts and Sciences. Yet it is not the establishment itself that is the most interesting but its L’Hemisfèric planetarium and laserium section. Also known as the “Eye of Knowledge”, the planetarium had its first building completed in 1998. Resembling a massive eyelid and completely encircled by a pristine pond, it is made in such a way that it can open and reveal the part of it that is spiritually considered its iris. Supported by massive concrete pillars, the inner planetarium area boasts with extraordinary acoustics. Oh, and let us not forget about the fact that it has a large IMAX theatre (wink).
4. Morrison Planetarium:
To be fair, we are going to recommend that you visit the entirety of the California Academy of Sciences and not only its Morrison Planetarium section. Occupying a significant land area of 37,000 square metres, it is one of the most important educational facilities of San Francisco. It has four important subdivisions: Kimball Natural History Museum, Rainforests of the World, Steinhart Aquarium, and, of course the Morrison Planetarium. What’s important to know about the latter section is that it is the world’s largest completely digital planetarium. If you are in for an experience that will most certainly work on all your senses, then you cannot leave this out! Oh, and let us not forget that the establishment is located in Golden Gate Park – the most visited tourist attraction of San Francisco (making the planetarium easy to find).
5. Galileo Galilei Planetarium:
Argentina enters the race with its Galileo Galilei Planetarium located in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires (specifically in the Parque Tres de Febrero). Locked within a dome that soars at 20 metres, the planetarium is known by every single local. If you are looking for it, you don’t even have to ask for its full name – you can simply ask for the “Planetario”. Harbouring 360 seats, it is operational since 1968 (almost two years after its inauguration). If you are uncertain whether or not it will please your senses, let us tell you that it has over 100 projectors. If that isn’t awe-inspiring, then we don’t know what is!
Did you enjoy our list? How many of the aforementioned planetariums have you managed to visit? How many of them are you actually planning on visiting? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it!