On the first Sunday of December 2015, we went on a mini tour— on a date with the planets of our solar system.
The trip was to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bangalore. Though we had been in Bangalore since the last six years we hadn’t gone there as we thought our kid won’t like the experience of being inside a planetarium and might create a ruckus there.
But this time, he learnt about the various planets through a YouTube video and was very interested to visit a planetarium to know more about the planets. Check the video below, it is very informative and peppy.
So off we went, we three, Father, Mother and Son, expecting to hear lots and lots about the planets and the universe.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium is located in Millers Road and is mostly crowded on Sundays. The weekdays see fewer crowds. It is closed Mondays and second Tuesdays of every month.
The planetarium was founded in 1989 by the Bangalore City Corporation. It is being managed by the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE) since 1992. The most popular events at the planetarium are Sky Theater Shows, which according to statistics, gets viewed by more than 200,000 visitors every year. The shows are held in English and Kannada and covers various topics like ‘Our Solar System’, ‘The Sun: Our Star’ and the ‘Dawn of the space age’.
You can check out more details at the official site Taralaya.org.
When we reached the place, my son was fascinated by the model of the huge rocket that stood at the entrance of the Science and Children’s park that surround the planetarium. We took his pictures where he proudly proclaimed that he would become an astronaut when he grew up. The science park has various experimental set ups that explain some of the basic elements of science to the visitors. We did our experiments and my son walked around studying the models of the planets and reading aloud the statistics of each and adding his own comments.
When he saw mercury he told me that mercury was the planet that was nearest to the sun and he wouldn’t want to visit it. When he reached near Venus he said it was the hottest planet in the solar system and hence nobody should visit it. You will get burnt! His favorite was Mars which he said he was determined to visit when he became an astronaut. On and on he went while we waited for the Sky theatre Show to begin.
Once inside the planetarium, we wandered about a bit reading the posters about the various planets, comets, dwarf planets and about the Sun. There was a huge model of the planet Mars and people were taking selfies near it. Once inside the air conditioned Sky Theatre, when the show began, it felt like being on the terrace watching the heavens on a cold winter night. The show we attended was ‘Our Solar System.’ The whole show was fantastico and we learned lots about the planets and our solar system in general.
When we reached home from the planetarium, the first thing my son did was to search for the reason why 'poor old Pluto' was thrown out from the list of nine planets. He felt very bad that Pluto was now just a dwarf planet.
The aspiring astronaut is now thinking whether he should visit the planets or should just become an astronomer and discover a few more dwarf planets or comets!