say goodbye to the National Planetarium – Manila Newsletter

BRIGHT, WARM, YOUNG STARS Small Magellanic Cloud (NASA)

On Wednesday October 13, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) presented the Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the brightest and most complex star-forming regions in space, a dwarf galaxy located at 210,000 light years. The Hubble image released by the independent US agency was like a purple haze lifted by twinkling stars, animated with raw energy, a song for the eyes. It should remind us of how vast the universe is, how little we know about the cosmos, as well as the inner workings and meanings of space, time, the world, and our lives.

It is only by thinking on an astronomical scale that we push the boundaries of human understanding. Space scientists are trying to understand how the Earth fits into the framework of solar systems and galaxies and in doing so gives us a glimpse of our own planet. In fact, a lot of the technology we use today is down to NASA, from cell phone cameras to medical LED technology, even to formula milk. The study of space is a fantasy affair.

Two days before the release of the space telescope photo of the Milky Way’s near neighbor, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) published online the temporary closure of the Manila Rizal Park National Planetarium. The 16-meter (52-foot) dome-shaped building is being decommissioned after operating for 46 years to make way for development plans from the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC).

FREE-DOME TO EXPLORE Exterior of the National Planetarium (National Museum of the Philippines)

The management of the planetarium explains that this temporary closure is necessary to create a new infrastructure more adapted to the contemporary world and to the generations of Filipinos.

“We are sad to be removing the old building, which in its own way has been a landmark in Manila and a mainstay of the National Museum of the Philippines as a whole, but we are excited and motivated to work to deliver a new facility that will breathe new life into it. new life at the National Planetarium as a beloved institution, ”NMP wrote on its social media platforms.

We cannot stress enough the importance of the National Planetarium, as the Philippines needs more astronomers now that we realize the crucial role of space science in our national development. It is essential for sharpening the minds of young people, enabling them to become interested in astronomy and greater possibilities.

In 1970, the head of the Philippine Weather Bureau and founder of the Philippine Astronomical Society, Maximo Sacro Jr., proposed to the then director of the National Museum, Godofredo Alcasid Sr., the idea of ​​building a space museum in Luneta. With the help of Japanese engineers, construction began in 1974. A year later, on October 8, the planetarium was inaugurated.

REACHING SPACE FROM THE GROUND Interior of the National Planetarium (National Museum of the Philippines)

The National Planetarium has become a regular destination for school trips as it offers a digital and mobile projection of the solar system in full domed and true to life. It also hosted shows and exhibitions presenting various astronomical facts and celestial observations.

The museum has since become a landmark, a must-see destination for school trips, allowing visitors to experience a realistic digital and mobile projection of the solar system, thanks to its state-of-the-art hybrid projection system. technology.

It is an important tourist attraction, even more a learning institution, which hosts various exhibitions and shows on the natural science of celestial objects and phenomena. We cannot stress enough the importance of the National Planetarium, as the Philippines urgently needs more astronomers now that we realize the crucial role of space science in our national development. It is essential for sharpening the minds of young people, enabling them to become interested in astronomy and greater possibilities.

In 2018, the planetarium closed for renovations. It opened two months later, to cease its activities again, from April 2020 to July 2021, due to the health crisis.

A CELESTIAL ADVENTURE Japanese company Goto combines the original 1975 analog planetarium projector with a digital projector

No information has been released on the new planetarium. What is certain is that it is currently in the development phase. What management has mentioned is that the next national planetarium will be worthy of the name at this time, “designed to serve the public well for many decades to come with the unique experience that only a class planetarium has to offer. world can deliver “.

In the meantime, while waiting for a new National Planetarium, here are other planetariums that you can visit.

PAGASA Planetarium
PAGASA Science Garden, Agham Road, Quezon City

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) planetarium provides an ideal setting for cosmic educational tours. Its primary objective is to teach the general public the scientific concept of the universe.

Planetarium and science park of Mayon

Tabaco City, Albay

Nestled halfway up the slope of Mount Mayon is this planetarium and geology museum, also known as the Virtual Mayon Simulation and Observatory Facility. The single-storey building accommodates four rooms, including a library, a virtual room, a mini-museum and an audiovisual room. The dome measures six meters (20 feet).

PSHS-WVC Planetarium

Metropolis Ave, Barangay Bito-on, Jaro, Iloilo City, 5000 Iloilo

On the roof of the Science Learning Resource Center is a 30-seat installation in which images of stars, planets and other celestial bodies are presented on a hemispherical dome.


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Arline J. Mercier

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