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Sammyb

Closure of planetariums in the UK

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Hello all,

Just before xmas I learned that the planetarium at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry closed in September 2012 due to age and cost and difficulty in repairs. This made me think about other planetariums I have known about in my region which have closed since I was young and found it quite sad because I always thought they were a great way to talk about astronomy to the public. I still remember going to one in Scarborough when I was very young and found it fascinating, which closed down sometime ago.

The knock on effect of the closure of Manchester planetarium is that (according to their website) "...from September 2012 there will be no Space Adventure, Neil Armstrong or Space KS2 sessions for school groups, or Brownie Stargazer or Cub Astronomer Badges for uniformed groups". This makes me realise the wider role these facilities play in the community in public education and possibly in inspiring many young potential astronomers of the future. This will be lost.

Is this is a trend nationwide? I wonder if planetariums are to become a relic of the past to be replaced by new alternative education mediums in the digital age, but for me there is something quite special about sitting in a darkened planetarium watching the show and listening to authoritative voice over the speakers.

I'd be interested in any other members thoughts on this

Sam

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My interest in astronomy was most likely sparked at the age of 5 being allowed to have a go with the planetarium controls at South Tyneside College. My dad worked with Eva who ran the planetarium there until retirement. I always enjoyed the experience inside the dome.

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I remember the first planetarium I went to and was astounded when they showed us what "real dark skies" looked like - stunning. I'm sure planetariums can't be cheap to run and I sincerely hope that the one you mention isn't the beginning of a trend

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Has the one at south tyneside college closed?

I believe it did, and the telescope went elsewhere too.

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Although I've had a telescope since the late 1970's, it was taking my kids to the planetarium at @Bristol that got me back into stargazing a few years ago. This is a really lovely little planetarium and the shows are hugely popular (if short).

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There are still planetaria about & active . You may find these links of use . Teeside has the Wynard Planetarium & Observatory http://www.wynyard-planetarium.net/links.htm . There is a planetaria group covering availability here http://www.planetarium.org.uk/planetaria.asp . In our locality on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border there is the Star Centre at Keighley here http://www.starcentre.org/education.htm plus there are Starlab mobile units http://www.starlab.uk.com/ . My astro society has provided a taste of the real sky to a J & I School at the School teachers & Bursars request to finish off there Science & Technology week/s on two consecutive years . Believe it or not the weather gods favoured both annual sessions with stacks of mums , dads & kids. Videos and astro images were available indoors while you warmed up & fed on pizza.

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Thanks for the response.

Yes Rik I'd heard the Bristol one is a good one.

LeoLion - thanks its good to hear of these educational resources/events. I'll take a look at the links.

Sam

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went the one at greenwich when the horsey thing was on...i was the only one in there..10,000 people outside!

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I looked for planetariums in Yorkshire using the BAP link. It highlighted two - one of which was Harewood House, Leeds - which is now closed. The other is a mobile one - these seem to be popular these days.

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went the one at greenwich when the horsey thing was on...i was the only one in there..10,000 people outside!

That's a shame. Perhaps that's the root of the problem here.

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As a family we are very new to astronomy, and have been seeking out Planeteriums whilst on holidays.

2011

1) @ Bristol

2) Cape Town on Holiday and visited the one in the SA museum.

2012

1) We have been back to @ Bristol for another visit.

2) Orlando Science center whilst on holiday.

3) Mobile Planetarium at the Tiverton Balloon Fiesta.

And not to mention our very own (as members) Planetarium at the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth with our wonderful guide Mac.

http://www.normanlockyer.com/index.html

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Really enjoyed my visits to the London Planetarium when I was young many years ago. I recall it became Laserium for a while before closing. I much prefer the traditional projected shows to the modern 3D format.

Isn't the original London projector now at Norman Lockyer? I'm sure they have either that or the Greenwich one. Visited there whilst holidaying in Devon a few years back, fascinating place.

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As a family we are very new to astronomy, and have been seeking out Planeteriums whilst on holidays.

Hi springbok, Have you tried the Planetarium in Plymouth? Supposed to be quite good by all accounts. It's used to teach mariners how to navigate a ship using the stars just in case the ships electronics malfunction.

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I became interested in astronomy when I moved with my mother to a farm in North Yorkshire when I was 8yrs old, the skies were beautifully dark ( although now because of the usual insatiable greed of local councils the small village where I grew up in is rapidly becoming swallowed up by developments and the poisionous LP which accompany themangryfire.gif ...........I know, no politics. :laugh: ) But visiting Jodrell Bank in 1988 really got me interested & I loved the planterium there, after looking at his thread I had a nosey at their website & alas, that has also been demolished, I can still hear my mothers comment all those years ago of 'one day you'll be able to take ur son there', that, unfortunately will never happen. :lipsrsealed: Although on a happier note, at 9yrs old he's starting to show the first signs of interest in the hobby which i'm actively encouraging. :grin:

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The London Planetarium on Baker street, next to Madame Tussaude's closed and was filled with yet more celebrity wax works:-(

...so people were still looking at "stars" :rolleyes: !
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Have a look for Ibbo! on here as I think he runs a mobile planetarium called Astrosphere . Should you fancy Merseyside you could do two planetaria in a day. Spaceport at Seacombe Ferry Terminal in Birkenhead http://www.spaceport.org.uk/ and there are other space related things for the kids at that venue. There is an annual MAD event there http://www.astro.ljmu.ac.uk/mad/venue.html that requires pre-booking . It's a day of quality astrotalks and includes a planetarium show too. You could take the 'Ferry cross the Mersey' from there and do the LIverpool Planetarium http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/events/displayevent.aspx?eventID=12494 .

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There's still a planetarium on the Isle of Wight. It's been there at least since the early 1990's. I went there around 1992 to deliver a set of model planets. In fact, I think these were the planets I made - http://www.redfunnel.co.uk/my-isle-of-wight/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/planet-roof1.jpg

www.islandastronomy.co.uk/

Edited by ArmyAirForce

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If you are ever in Dundee i'd recommend a trip up Balgay Hill to visit the Mills Observatory.

I think (hope!) the planetarium has been upgraded since I was there as a lad - 40 years ago, when Harry Ford did the shows. Excellent Cooke refractor to look through on clear nights too.

Callum

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Planetarium is still hear it was last upgraded in the 1980s it's now one of only three operational planetaria in Scotland I am doing planetarium talks tonight

its my favorite thing in the observatory but it is on its last legs I fixed it last week ! I love the old mechanical projectors prefer them to modern digital projectors any day.

The Glasgow Science Centre has a large ziess electro mechanical projector its probibily the best in Europe if not the UK

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