The Overlooked Star

For almost two months now, people have been flocking to the Planetarium.

News about the modernization of the National Museum Planetarium (or just Planetarium) has made the rounds since late March. The GM-15-S Goto Starball Projector, an analog device that has been around since 1975, has been upgraded via hybrid integration with a digital projector created by Goto, a Japanese company.

Because they have acquired new shows that use their full dome projector, the National Museum decided to treat the public to free screenings last month, which was extended until the end of this month.

The Planetarium is a gated structure that encloses a 16 meter (52 ft.) dome that lies just on the edge of the Rizal Park Complex facing the Intramuros, the Walled City. Plans for the country’s planetarium came from the Philippine Weather Bureau (now the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration) chief and Philippine Astronomical Society founder Maximo Sacro Jr. and were passed along to National Museum Director Godofredo Alcasid Sr., who gave it the budget of $100,000.00 from the Japanese Reparation Program. The then First Lady Imelda Marcos approved the idea and ordered the Bureau of Public Works (now the Department of Public Works and Highways) to see it realized. The Planetarium was formally opened to the public in October 8, 1975.

Here is their weekly schedule:

9:00 AM – A Planet for Goldilocks
10:30 AM – Hayabusa Back to the Earth
1:00 PM – A Planet for Goldilocks
2:30 PM – Journey to a Billion Suns
4:00 PM – Hayabusa Back to the Earth

10:00 AM – Journey to a Billion Suns
2:00 PM – Hayabusa Back to the Earth

Also, consider these tips before going there

  1. First come, first served basis – no reservations
  2. Arrive early – tickets go fast and lines can get quite long
  3. Brace yourself for the heat – bring water and umbrella
  4. Kids below 5 years old will not be admitted inside – and those that are old enough will have their own seats—no sharing
  5. Phones and cameras are banned in the screening area – those and bags will be left at the baggage counter

With that said, I hope you enjoy what the hybrid projector – the overlooked star of the Planetarium – shows you. I know I did.


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