Birla Planetarium in Chennai has new delights for kids

Chennai: Everyday, scores of children from various parts of Tamilnadu and neighbouring States, arrive at the B M Birla Planetarium at Kotturpuram in the city.

Spending hours together here, the little minds explore Science, Electronics and Communication, Energy, Life Science, Innovation, Transport, Astronomy and Defence, from over 500 exhibits here.

News Today’ spoke to the Executive Director of Tamilnadu Science and Technology Centre, Dr S Soundararajaperumal, at the 200-acred campus, to understand how the space aims to make Science an enjoyable learning experience for students.

“We have students from all parts of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka coming here. Although they can spend an entire day visiting the galleries, the parks and watch shows, most students take an average of three hours here,” he said.

It may be noted that the planetarium provides a virtual tour of the night sky and holds cosmic shows on a specially perforated hemispherical aluminium inner dome.

Dr S Soundararajaperumal

Now, the centre is reportedly changing the traditional way of using photographic plates and film rolls and is going digital, it is learnt.

Soundararajaperumal said,”A modern opto-mechanical state-of-the-art system is being incorporated and will be open to public in December, after which about 240 people can sit and watch the shows at a time. The one in Kolkata is however the largest with a 23 meters dome, as compared to the 15 metered-one here.”

For students, the facility offers two programmes- Meet Scientist and Meet Medical Experts, where they have interactions with well-known personalities.

It also offers a diploma in Astronomy which is designed by Dr S Soundararajaperumal, who is an Astrophysicist, even as it regularly conducts the Inspire award, a Science competition for students who are between 11-16 years of age.

EIGHT GALLERIES

Located at Kotturpuram in the Periyar Science and Technology Centre campus, it houses eight galleries, namely, Physical Science, Electronics and Communication, Energy, Life Science, Innovation, Transport, International Dolls and Children and Materials Science.

Naomi N