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The M. P. Birla Planetarium started functioning from September 29, 1962 as an educational, scientific and research institution and was formally inaugurated on July 2, 1963 by the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This was the second major Planetarium to be set up in the commonwealth countries with London having a Planetarium a few years earlier to the one in Calcutta then.
This was the first of its kind in India and the largest in Asia. Syt. M. P. Birla was the driving force behind this project. The Planetarium has been established on a land (about an acre) leased by the West Bengal Government. The Planetarium with all its assets had been transferred to the Registered Society of “Birla Institute of Fundamental Research”.
The M. P. Birla Planetarium has been hosting and participating in several National and International seminars in astronomy and connected fields and has been regularly organizing astronomical expeditions for the studies of Solar Eclipses and other Celestial events. The Planetarium has also been organizing special lectures and exhibitions in connection with centenaries of astronomers like Galileo, Kepler, Tycho Brahe and others. The Planetarium owns an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 Telescope with accessories such as ST6 CCD Camera, Solar Filter etc.
The M. P. Birla Planetarium, since its inception, has designed and presented to the public and students more than 350 astronomical projects dealing with many facets of astronomy, astro-physics, Celestial Mechanics, Space Science, History of astronomy,Centenaries of famous Astronomers as well as mythology concerning stars and planets. The Planetarium has also been conducting a series of graded school programmes for children of various age groups. Almost from the very beginning of this institution, it has been conducting a Free Evening Course inAstronomy. In the year 1993 it introduced a Post-Graduate Diploma Course inAstronomy & Planetarium Sciences. In the year 1999 the Planetarium joined hands with the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and introduced a new course called the M. Phil. Course in Astronomy & Planetarium Sciences.
The Planetarium is equipped with an Electronics Laboratory for design and fabrication of scientific equipment. In 1993, after two years of work, this lab set up an Automation System for executing the special effects and visuals during a planetarium show. One must come and have a look to the Planetarium begore giving their views.
The Planetarium has been regularly bringing a scientific Journal called “The Journal of M. P. Birla Planetarium” wherein appear contributed articles from astronomers from India as well as from abroad. An editorial board has been suitability set up for the assessment and sensibility of the articles received for publication. In recent years, the Planetarium has also brought out some astronomical publications like “Bust Stories”, “A Brief Introduction of Astronomy”, yearly astronomical pocket-calendars and picture post-cards etc. The M. P. Birla Planetarium was chosen as the venue for the 7th International Planetarium Directors’ Congress in 1980.. The address of B.M. Birla Auditorium, Jaipur is 71/35
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