To provide fun and interesting science education to both the young and old, the Bangalore City Corporation established the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in 1989. It is located on Sri. T. Chowdaiah Road, High Grounds, Bangalore, together with the Science Park and Science Center, which serves as the center for non-formal education of astronomy and science in the city. In 1992, management and administration of the planetarium was handed over to the Bangalore Association for Science Education or BASE. BASE is determined to educate students and the general public through the planetarium, Science Center and Science Park.
With a dome that is 15-meters wide in diameter, visitors are mesmerized by the stunning visuals of the night sky and constellations on the planetarium’s Sky Theater, which makes use of different kinds of hi-tech projectors, such as slide projectors, video projectors and visual effects projectors. Visitors love the panoramic visual presentation that truly is a very creative and effective way of teaching people about astronomy.
In addition to the teaching of science, the planetarium also presents the different arts, literature and cultures of India and other countries, as well as the history, modern developments and future directions of India. There are also special programs showing cartoons, computer animation, paintings, pictures taken from outer space, video clips, and special effects to truly entertain spectators. Before the end of every presentation, the planetarium runs a special 5-minute capsule titled “Science Watch”. It highlights recently updated developments and achievements in the field of Science and Technology.
When coming in and going out of the complex, guests get to see huge pictures of the different stars, supernovas, nebulae, galaxies and so on. This is truly a feast for people who are interested in the study of planets, stars and astronomy. Also on one side of the planetarium is a stall the sells related books, science kits, telescopes, pictures, models and other souvenir items.
Within the planetarium premises is the Science Park, a unique venue that aims to provide opportunities of learning about the astronomy while having fun at the same time. On display within the park and Science Center are a sun dial, giant kaleidoscope, a replica of the Polar Satellite Launching Vehicle (PSLV), model of the human DNA, and so on.
Also found within the complex is the Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA), which regularly conducts meetings and workshops that are made available to everyone. The meetings take place on Sundays at 6:00 p.m. ABAA also invites the public to build telescopes with them, take astro-photographs, watch the night sky using high-power telescopes, and other educational activities. With the help of ABAA, the average student may just get to see a spectacular view of a passing comet. On the first Sunday of each month, ABAA conducts lectures using the planetarium’s Sky Theater. Stars, constellations and planets are identified and charted.
For the more serious students of astronomy, the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium conducts educational activities and experiments to effectively explain rocket launch, atmospheric pressure and so on. These lectures are designed for high school and college students, and are conducted on weekends from 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.