Since its inception in 1988, the Birla Planetarium Chennai has carved a niche for itself in the segment of planetarium technology. This has enabled the planetarium to produce special effects that are not easily parallel. Labeled as the most modern planetarium in India, it is located in Periyar Science and Technology Centre campus.
The planetarium conducts sky shows every day at different timings and also in different languages. These daily cosmic shows include sky and seasons, Solar system, eclipses, Man on the moon, Earth, Comets, Stellar cycle, Shooting meteoroids and Deep Sky. An impressive ensemble of cosmic elements, the shows take one on trip through the skies. All these shows are made much more real and lucid through the use of one of the most advanced, sophisticated and versatile GM II projector. The special effects created with this projector are absolutely mesmerizing and awe-inspiring. And the resulting heavenly phenomena experienced as it is flashed on the specially designed perforated aluminum inner dome, leaves one in bewildered and amazed. All this can be experienced in the comfortable seating arrangement of the fully computerized planetarium, which can seat more than two hundred and thirty people at any given point in time.
Besides holding the magnificent sky shows, the planetarium also has the facility of taking classes to learn about astronomy and night sky observation. The seminar hall and classroom studio which are available in the planetarium, help eminent personalities to conduct discussions and workshops in the field of astronomy. These are held every second Saturday of the month.
For those more inclined to a more open air atmosphere, a leisurely stroll to the Science Park close by provides the ideal mixture of learning with an interactive method. This is especially popular with children as the open space allows them to run around and at the same time, learn from the interactive exhibits that make up the Science Park. Another extremely interesting and impressive area is the Traffic Park. It is absolute fun for the children to ride around in toy cars and understand electronically generated traffic signals. My kids were hovering round and round in the toy cars all across the place.
Coupled with the impressive technological knowhow of the planetarium and the hands-on experience of the nearby theme parks, makes a visit to the Birla Planetarium Chennai a memorable experience. The day ended as it had to be and we got back to the hotel enriched with Chennai’s rich culture and heritage.