From here to serenity — new planetarium is out of this world

Scotland’s first fulldome digital planetarium will soon be open to the public.

It was re-launched on Tuesday at Glasgow Science Centre after a £450,000 upgrade offering visitors what the centre hails as “a fully-immersive intergalactic space odyssey”, and will open its doors next Saturday, September 5.

The new installation will take audiences on journeys through the solar system, the Milky Way and beyond, allowing for a deeper exploration of our place in space.

In its previous form, the planetarium assumed the Earth was the centre of the universe, as everyone did before Galileo and Copernicus proved them wrong. Now, the digital upgrade has brought the planetarium up to the modern age, allowing visitors to see the universe in three dimensions and be transported to any point in the known universe.

There are live presenter-led planetarium shows suitable for all ages as well as adult learners via a programme of evening lectures and classes

Astronomer Steve Owens, the new manager of the planetarium (pictured), said: “The upgrade has truly transformed our planetarium allowing us to take our audience to the edge of the known universe, to planets around alien stars, and to anywhere in our own solar system.

“Audiences will be able to see Pluto up close, land on Mars, or fly through the rings of Saturn. Plus with every new bit of data, the star show content can be immediately updated, allowing our expert presenters to react with each new scientific discovery.”

The new system can show spectacular fulldome films. In contrast to a cinema screen, the films will be displayed 360° across the 15‐metre hemispherical dome giving a wholly immersive experience.

At this week’s launch, the centre’s CEO, Dr Stephen Breslin, added: “Never before have Scots been able to land on the Moon or the surface of Mars; to soar through the rings of Saturn or see new planets as they are discovered.

“I’m sure at some point everyone has looked up into the night sky and wondered ‘what is up there?’. From those who grew up with the moon landings in the 70s through to the modern day explorations of the Mars Rover missions, space exploration has captured the imaginations of millions.

“Our guided explorations through space will provide visitors with a deeper understanding of space and we hope it will inspire a new generation of young people to consider their future in the space industry.”