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Interior dome of Naval Hill planetarium reaches completion
2013-09-04

 

Work on the inside of the dome
Photo: Reinier Brönn
01 September 2013

The interior perforated aluminium planetarium dome has been installed by an American expert from Astro-Tec, the American company that customised the dome for the planetarium on Naval Hill. The planetarium, the first digital planetarium in sub-Saharan Africa, is scheduled to open in November 2013. The UFS manages the project.

The dome arrived in parts by ship from the USA in June 2013. These parts consisted of a number of long curved ‘ribs’ and numerous perforated panels. The panels were attached in sections to the ribs to form a smooth concave shell, creating the surface for the projection system.

The next step will be the installation of the projection system itself.

The 86-year old Lamont-Hussey Observatory on Naval Hill, also known as the Sterrewag Theatre, is home to the planetarium. The planetarium is the first component of a proposed Centre for Earth and Space. This will be a multi-purpose facility to promote science communication and preservation, and the arts.

This project is a long-term partnership between three main organisations, each bringing essential components to the project: the Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) as the land-owner, the Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DETEA) and the UFS, which developed the concept for the planetarium project and will be responsible for its operation and further fundraising endeavours.

The National Department of Science and Technology also joined this venture subsequent to providing substantial funding to the UFS in order to purchase the projection system for the planetarium.

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