Kozhikode Planetarium awaiting a digital boost

The Regional Science Center and Planetarium (RSCP) in Kozhikode, which records an annual attendance of about six lakh, the highest in the country compared to other such centers, is in dire need of modernization.

According to sources, the equipment of the 230-seat domed planetarium has not yet been upgraded. It’s the center of attraction here, showcasing the movement of planets and stars through a hybrid projection system. The systems, although regularly maintained, were purchased about 10 years ago.

The projector and the sound and light system are a good example. Visitors have complained that the sound cuts out between shows. The lights go out. Show cancellations have become frequent. Hall of Astronomy, Hall of Ocean Gallery, HD 3D Theater, Fun Science Gallery, Magical Mirror Gallery, and Science Park are some of the other attractions at the center.

The sources pointed out that the number of shows held at the RSCP is higher compared to other planetariums due to the large number of visitors. For this reason, the equipment is also at work for longer hours. The hitches and slowdowns are pretty obvious. More advanced systems should be introduced, they said.

The COVID-19 pandemic had interrupted RSCP activities in 2020. Performances and other work fully resumed after the second wave of the pandemic ended in November 2021. Facilities have not been upgraded in the past two years. The center, which is under the National Council of Science Museums, an autonomous corporation under the Union Ministry of Culture, is one of the main tourist destinations in the city of Kozhikode.

Binoy Kumar Dubey, who recently took over the leadership of the institution, said The Hindu this thrust would be given to the modernization of the equipment of the planetarium. “We have already modernized the 3D cinema. The astronomy room needs to be renovated. A digital push is the need of the hour. Proposals have been made, but funds still need to be approved,” he added.

Arline J. Mercier