ZEISS to upgrade and refurbish the M.P. Birla Planetarium

31st August, 2014 - ZEISS signed an agreement with the Birla Institute of Fundamental Research to upgrade and refurbish the Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. The new equipment will replace the ZEISS universal projection planetarium which has reliably served the millions of inhabitants of this metropolis ever since it was inaugurated in 1962.

As well as a ZEISS STARMASTER optical-mechanical projector, the refurbished planetarium will also include a digital projection system consisting of nine VELVET projectors developed and produced by ZEISS for fulldome projection. The company will also be supplying a new sound system and a number of different shows based on astronomical topics. The old projection dome, 23 meters in diameter, will also be replaced. The renovations will be carried out over the summer of 2015 and the long-established educational institute is due to open its doors again in September 2015.

The planetarium is one of the largest facilities of its kind in India, and indeed worldwide, and its Indian style of architecture has helped make the building a key tourist attraction in Kolkata. More than 20 million people have visited the planetarium since it began its mission to promote popular science 50 years ago. Popularly known as Taramandal, the planetarium explains unfolding events in the sky and regularly presents the world of astronomy in Hindi, English and Bengali. Run by the private Birla Foundation, the planetarium will continue to focus primarily on live presentations in the future. The new equipment is the perfect choice for this task, featuring software which performs continuous, synchronous control of the digital and optical-mechanical projection system both in manual operation and in automatic mode.

The system in Kolkata will be the first ZEISS VELVET installation on the Indian subcontinent.

The system in Kolkata will be the first ZEISS VELVET installation on the Indian subcontinent.