NURTURING interest in astronomy can be accomplished through full-dome planetarium projectors and bringing planetarium activities to schools.
The College of Science Student Council and the UST Applied Physics Society (APSoc) collaborated last March 2 for the Astronomy Night, a joint project with the astronomical societies of the University of the Philippines Diliman and Rizal Technological University.
Organizers let students use different type of telescopes: the Newtonian reflecting telescope, the Alt-azimuth, and the equatorial refracting telescope.
“It is one of the goals of the college week, to promote science to Thomasians by putting up these telescopes and let them experience astronomy,” council president Patricia Hidalgo said in an interview with the Varsitarian.
John Adams Villamoran, ApSoc president, said: “UST is the only university among the ‘Big 4’ that has no astronomy society and it is our advocacy to put up an organization specializing in the field.”
In a related development, the Planetarium at Rizal Park unveiled on March 24 a unique hybrid projector—a composite of the 1975 GM-15 Goto analog projector and a new digital projector featuring “state-of- the-art” virtual reality experience.
The P30-million hybrid projector was designed by a Japanese company, Goto, Inc. It showcases realistic astronomical events. Upgraded planetarium facilities also give the audience a grasp of the infinity of the universe.
The Planetarium exhibits offer three different “stories”: “A Planet for Goldilocks,” which narrates the search for a second earth-like planet that can sustain life forms; “Journey to a Billion Suns,” the exploration of the first astronomers from the star maps to the solar system; and “Hayabusa Back to the Earth,” a Japanese space quest to discover the secrets of the solar system.
Five shows run Tuesdays until Saturdays. There are two shows every Sunday. Each show runs up to 45 minutes. Admission is free until May 31.