International Day of Planetaria is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of March. In 2021, it is celebrated on March 14th.
The celebration was first held by the Italian Association of Planetariums (Associazione Amici dei Planetari) in 1991. Since 1995, it has become international when other planetariums in Europe have joined the celebration. Later it began to be celebrated in the USA, Australia and Asia. The celebration is supported by the International Planetarium Society.
Originally, International Day of the Planetariums was held on the Sunday before the vernal equinox. Later, the date for the celebration was set for the second Sunday in March. Planetariums, which are closed on Sundays, celebrate the holiday on Saturday.
The purpose of this professional holiday is to acquaint a wide range of people with the activities of planetariums and to promote astronomical knowledge.
The Planetarium is a scientific and educational institution that demonstrates the celestial sphere with various celestial bodies and astronomical phenomena, lectures on astronomy, cosmonautics, and earth sciences. It uses a special apparatus, also called a planetarium, to demonstrate an artificial starry sky on a hemispherical screen. The device includes several projectors for various purposes, inserted into one complex rotating frame.
The first optical planetarium was designed by the German engineer Walter Bauersfeld and his co-workers in 1922 and manufactured at the Carl Zeiss optical plant (Germany) in 1923. In 1925, the world's first planetarium, built by the same company, began operating in Munich (Germany).
The first planetarium in Russia was opened in Moscow in 1929. It became the thirteenth planetarium in the world. By that time, they were in three European capitals – Berlin, Vienna (Austria), Rome (Italy) – and nine cities in Germany.
Traditionally, a structure with a round hall and a “hemispherical dome” is called a planetarium. However, in the beginning, not only purpose-built buildings were used as planetariums, but also structures intended for other purposes. For example, a water tower, thermae (baths), and later domed churches. Closer to the 1990s, the architectural form of the planetariums changed dramatically, the classical form became a thing of the past. Architects have found and are finding today original solutions, creating buildings in the form of giant pipes, balls and other bizarre geometric structures. Such is the famous Hayden Planetarium in New York (USA) at the Natural History Museum, which has the shape of a ball inside a huge glass cube. Or, for example, Indira Gandhi's planetarium built in India, which looks like Jupiter with rings.
In Japan, in Nagoya, a planetarium was created in the form of a ball hovering in the air. Today it is recognized as the largest due to the huge diameter of the dome – 35 meters. But the most outstanding architectural solution was the Hemisferic planetarium in Valencia (Spain), built in 1996-1998 by the architect Satyago Calatrava. This is a whole town of science and art. In addition to the planetarium, the complex has a science museum, a concert hall, and a greenhouse.
Today, no two planetariums are alike. Architecturally, the buildings of the planetariums are unique, although they show something in common.
Now there are over two thousand planetariums in the world, of which more than 40 are in Russia. Since the 1980s, they have been using new generation projectors, in which a computer-generated image is projected through a single lens resembling a fisheye.
In 21 planetariums (in New York (USA), Beijing (China), Nagoya, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Jakarta (Indonesia), Valencia (Spain), Vienna (Austria), Bochum (Germany), Lisbon ( Portugal), Moscow, etc.), which have domes with a base diameter of 18 to 35 meters, Universarium star projectors are used, which are the most advanced at the beginning of the 21st century. The release of this model was started by Carl Zeiss in 1989. Universarium projectors are an opto-mechanical system for large domes and multimedia star theaters.
They project the starry sky using optical fiber, so the image quality is far superior to digital.
The Moscow Planetarium from 1994 to June 2011 was closed for major repairs and reconstruction. Now the most advanced fiber-optic apparatus Universarium M IX is installed here, and a full-dome digital projection system is in operation. The planetarium has become a multifunctional complex, which includes two star halls, three museums, an observatory, and a 4D cinema.
Planetariums play an extremely important role in the modern world. They are used for teaching purposes and for research. In the 1970s, large planetariums, when creating school and public programs, began to use not only live storytelling, but also musical and voice-over recordings, as well as various special effects. This technique allows the viewer to be given a richer visual experience accompanied by a more professional and meaningful text. With the advent of computers, sessions are becoming more automated. By the mid-1990s, planetariums had evolved into multimedia theaters that entertain and educate their visitors. In planetariums, many military specialists and astronauts / cosmonauts are also trained in astronavigation, and biologists are investigating the ability of birds to navigate the stars during flights.
According to unofficial data, more than 152 million people visit planetariums annually in the world.
The material was prepared on the basis of information from RIA Novosti and open sources