Cape Town - Following an extensive revamp of the Iziko Planetarium with its iconic Digital Dome, the newly upgraded facility finally opened its doors to the public on 27 May 2017 - just in time for the winter school holiday - showcasing state-of-the-art technology about the universe we live in.
The new Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome offers perspective-3D edu-tainment through a completely unique experience, one that is now able to be updated with new data and information as new discoveries are made.
The planetarium aims be a place where both scientists, industry specialists and the broader public will get together to learn more about our surroundings.
SEE: 12 Top SA winter holiday destinations for families
Don't miss out on family-friendly shows during the winter school holidays, from 1 July to 23 July 2017. Join pet pal Tycho and his friends in Tycho to the Moon, go on a mission of discovery in Asteroid: Mission Extreme, or take a journey through our universe in To Space & Back. Click here for show times and more information.
Ticket prices for Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome cost R60 for adults (19 years and older), and R30 for children, students and SA pensioners. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Seating for each show is limited to 140 visitors.
Vistas from across the galaxy
According to Rooksana Omar, CEO for Iziko Museums of South Africa, “the new Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome features as one of the African continent’s foremost centres of excellence for indigenous knowledge generation."
World-renowned astrophysicist, author and science communicator, Dr Neil De Grasse Tyson agrees saying there is "no better way to unleash the untapped potential within the citizenry of the African continent.
“No longer is the visitor limited to what the universe looks like from Earth. Vistas from across the galaxy and the universe itself are now possible… A digital planetarium further enables the wonders of the natural world to touch our lives in unexpected ways.
"Whether we gain perspective of our place in the world experiencing the diversity of pan-African culture, its folklore, and its art-writ large in the night sky, or by witnessing the forces of nature and how climate change affects our planet, or by exploring the infinite universe - we are not the same walking out of the dome as when we walked in."
The history of tech at Iziko
In the late 1950’s the Museum set up a fledgeling planetarium, and by the mid-80’s, a newly built dome with a dedicated star machine followed, providing edu-tainment to over 2 million visitors to date.
As technology improved, so did the facility and the new Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome. Now, the latest full-dome digital technology has become the norm for planetaria worldwide, offering high-res, multi-media image projection.
Immersive and multi-sensory experiences create a hub of creativity and learning that is no longer only focused on astronomy, but on an unlimited array of subjects and genre, with content for audiences of all genres.
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Take a look at the Iziko Planetarium journey explained in detail below -
A win for SA research and science
According to project patron Professor Danie Visser, the newly upgraded Planetarium is an example of cooperation and innovation within government department as well as between scientists, researchers and members of the broader public.
"As valuable it is for an astronomer to stand in the universe, it can be for a neuro-scientist to stand inside a brain," he says. The new facility can thus also be a place where youngsters will be able to visualise their future aspirations. Learners and educators from primary to tertiary levels will benefit from computer generated imagery that makes interactive teaching and visual learning possible, providing an unparalleled and accelerated learning experience.
The new planetarium technology will also be able to assist to optimise South Africa’s eResearch and data visualisation capacity, placing the country at the edge of this technology, both on the continent and globally.
In addition, this new facility will assist South African scientists to develop the skills base and infrastructure required for projects such as Square Kilometre Array (SKA), Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and MeerKAT radio telescope.
This new full-dome theatre will provide unequalled edu-tainment, making virtual travel to explore the universe, the depths of the oceans, the inner working of the human body, the intricacies of atomic and chemical structures possible, or just providing animation and 360° cinema for sheer entertainment.
Multi-million Rand Revamp
Investments totalling R28,5 million were secured to ensure the realisation of this project with partnerships from the Department of Arts and Culture, the Department of Science and Technology, the National Research Foundation, the National Lotteries Commission and key academic institutions in the Western Cape including University of Cape Town (UCT), University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
The upgrade of the Iziko planetarium forms an important adjunct to the roll out of a major Capital Works Project currently underway at the Iziko South African Museum.
More than R220 million is being invested by the Department of Arts and Culture to renovate the existing four-storey research space into a seven-storey, contemporary facility that will be partially accessible to the public so that they can interact with the quintessence of this museum – research.
Part of the entire refurbishment process will also be to upgrade the planetarium foyer in 2018.
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