The Cultural Village foundation – Katara unveils the very first high-tech Al Thuraya Planetarium this week, the only astronomical dome in Qatar, marking another significant achievement for Qatar. The event was attended by diplomats and dignitaries.
Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, General Manager of Katara, said that the new Planetarium will be suitable for all age groups as it offers interactive features that gives visitors a glimpse into astronomy in a more interesting way. He stressed that Katara is keen on educating the young generations with different cultural and scientific fields to diversify their knowledge and understanding.
The Planetarium will take visitors into a journey around the galaxies of the universe in a simplified manner that fits children and adults in two languages, English and Arabic.’
Occupying an area of 2,240 square metres, the planetarium is expected to become one of the main attractions at Katara. It will offer a rare experience to visitors, blending education and entertainment, especially for students, families and astronomy enthusiasts.
The planetarium hall will have a seating capacity for 200 people, four seats for the physically-challenged, and another four for the elderly. It will feature a huge 22-metre screen, equipped with state-of-the-art digital projectors featuring 2D and 3D tutorial shows.
A vast terrace overlooking the sea will serve as a platform for events and activities. This project is expected to be completed soon.
The Planetarium is named after the Thuraya (Seven Sisters), a cluster of seven bright stars (the Pleiades M45). It is considered one of the most beautiful aspects of the sky and the Arabs called it the Thuraya (Wealth in Arabic). This cluster was known since prehistoric times, popular among ancient astronomers, and had a significant status among the ancient Arabs.
The operating system of the Planetarium (Digistar) has very unique features, including an amazing tool to process 3D illustrations projected to the main screen of the dome.
The system also features live streaming feature DOMECASTING, which enables other similar theatres and domes in the world that are equipped with the same Digistar system to broadcast live presentations between each other, allowing other galleries to meet and watch live performances and experiment simultaneously.
The Planetarium also features information on Earth Science which contains over 200 unique data sets in astronomy, atmosphere, geology and the oceans. This includes more than 25 terrestrial weather data, solar data sets and a number of awareness presentations by professional trainers.
There is also a museum displaying astronomical figures and history such as the story of the split of the moon in the era of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), and a number of models of the planets of the solar system in various sizes, in addition to models of space shuttles and astraunauts suits.
Katara signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oman Oil Development Company in 2017 to train Qatari youth in the field planetariums and managing astronomy domes.
Visit katara.net for updates and more information about the new Al Thuraya Planetarium.