Our Traveling Planetarian
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Posted by: Sharon Shanks
Bryant Gonzalez reports in from Argentina in the latest about his travels around South America. He visited the first digital planetarium in Argentina (located in a pyramid), found a dome specifically tied to a university's astronomy education, and discovered the Julio Verne planetarium (located in a dodecahedron). It was quite a visit of shapes!
Now I'm in Argentina and have visited several planetariums. The first of the planetariums was Planetarium de Malargüe, in Mendoza Province. It was the first digital planetarium in Argentina, developed ten years ago and it has its own projection system, created by 5 individual multimedia projectors with distorted images and arranged in the dome. The dome is under a pyramid.
The Malargüe Planetarium is a complex that includes several spaces where astronomy is taught, 3 solar watches, an astronomy museum, and a conference room, and a hall housing the replica of an abelisaurus, a dinosaur found in Malagüe.
After this visit, I went to Córdoba, and found two planetariums in this city. The first of those is the Planetarium of the National Observatory of Cordoba, the principal institution of astronomy studies in the country. The planetarium is located in an ancient dome where a big telescope operated.
They reused the dome to install a StarLab Projector with Starry Night software to teach astronomy. This is the first planetarium at a university in my route in South America where astronomy is the primary focus of study. Students complement their classes in the little planetarium space to practice their exercises.
Also in this place, on weekends they open the dome to the public to present Las adventuras de Garras y Verde (Claw and green's adventures),an animation with astronomical content created by Cordoba citizens where the culture and astronomy are mixed with travel in a spaceship to explore planets. It is a funny adventure where the whole family can learn and enjoy astronomy.
The second planetarium in Cordoba was atPlaza Cielo Tierra, where the Julio Verne Planetarium is located in a museum with the shape of a dodecahedron. In this interesting architecture are four environments: air, water, earth, and fire, where sciences and nature are shown to people. The planetarium has a Zeiss Projector II combined with a digital projection.
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There was an only planetarium we cannot visit, La Punta Planetarium in San Luis Province. We had not money enough to be there because of the distance and the winter in this hemisphere make it a difficult goal for backpackers. Next time we hope have the economical resources to complete this visit.