The new Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences will open to the public on 2 July 2015, providing a new education resource and adding a new cultural attraction for the growing numbers of tourists visiting the emirate. A new high-tech 200-seat planetarium is expected to be the centre’s star attraction.
Sharjah has invested heavily in developing itself as a cultural destination with musuems and other attractions inkeeping with the emirate’s cultural and Islamic identity. Sharjah was named the Capital of Islamic Culture for the year 2014 and is currently enjoying its year as the Arab Capital of Tourism for 2015.
Popular cultural attractions in Sharjah include Sharjah Arts Museum, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Sharjah Natural History Museum and Desert Park and Heart of Sharjah, a major rennovation project which has been registered in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The space sciences centre’s planetarium shows will take audiences on a journey through the cosmos to explore the constellations, planets and the brightest of stars. The planetarium’s 18 metre dome, which is equipped with an optical ‘star ball’ and seven special projectors, is capable of showing nearly 10 million celestial bodies and will play nine different 360 degree movie documentaries. The theatre can produce an interactive model of the observable universe, extending up to billions of light years away.
Located in the University City in Sharjah, the space sciences centre was built on the instructions of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to promote and develop education about astronomy and space sciences in the Arab world. The new two-storey centre offers an educational exhibition highlighting the principles of astronomy and physics, light behaviour and the electromagnetic spectrum, and the formation of the universe.
The facility will also be used for research by students from the University of Sharjah and has a astronomical observatory and space lab. The observatory houses a reflecting telescope of 450 mm diameter and connected refracting telescope of 180 mm diameter. There is also a high-precision spectroscope for research purposes.
The centre also includes the Universe in Holy Quran Exhibition, a cafeteria and a souvenir shop.
Source: WAM, Gulf News