Belgaum can now boast of the country's first ever private planetarium.
In a welcome development strategy that will go a long way towards the science education of the country, a fully functioning state-of-the-art planetarium has been established in Belgaum city –— the first ever private planetarium in India.
The planetarium, named Asha Kiran Planetarium: School of Astronomy and Audio Visual Education Research Centre, is a result of 12-years of hard labour and dedication by Prof. C.G. Hukkeri, who soon after his retirement invested all his resources and that of family holdings to establish this centre.
Stars and astronomical studies had always been a passion and setting up a planetarium was his dream. He designed a 40-ft wide sky dome, built at a tilt of 30 degree, for a wide-angle view of wonders of the galaxy - the stars, sun, moon, and eclipses. It is designed like the Birla Planetarium in Kolkata.
The sky observatory has also been set up on the terrace, with space for research work too. Hukkeri's planetarium has a seating capacity of 120 persons and is a boon for students from North Karnataka, South Maharashtra and Goa, who have difficulty in visiting the planetariums in Bangalore and Mumbai which are situated more than 500 km away from Belgaum.
Dream come true
Ever since Prof. Hukkeri visited Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai with his wife Mrunalini in 1977, the newly wed couple started dreaming of establishing one in Belgaum for the benefit of school and college students of North Karnataka region and the adjoining areas. Later, he shifted to the USA as a lecturer to teach geography and became a guest lecturer on physics and space.
He invested all his life's earning in this novel project, says his son Anand, who did everything he could to make his parent's dream come true.
Future programmes include visual programmes for planetariums which have to be imported, as they are not produced in India. Therefore, plans have been drawn to dub these programmes from English into regional languages for the benefit of the students.
Some of the special features of planetarium include its tilted dome which is a first in India and a 30-degree tilted dome with a full dome immersive video presentations, and a real sky observatory when the sky is clear.
Show timings- 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Entry fee is Rs.60. Rs.50 for block booking in advance.
For further information, call : 0831 - 2447244, 2449306 Mob: 900180923/9886772923