Australian first for Wollongong’s Science Centre and Planetarium

Wollongong’s Science Centre and Planetarium has spent more than half a million dollars on a technology upgrade which no-one else in Australia has.

The centre, which will be rebranded as Science Space on Wednesday January 10, now has the country’s most advanced digital system with one of the most comprehensive astronomy databases.

Director Stuart Creal likened it to the best high definition television on the market but on a giant 10 metre screen.

“We’ve got similar systems in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth but all of their systems are now four to five years old,” Mr Creal said.

He said the technology allowed them to use the planetarium for much more than looking at the stars such as being an interactive learning tool for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) students, data visualisation for research students and an event space.

Later in the year it will host a “music and arts season” where the planetarium will be a venue for live music with the visual on the screen reacting specifically to the frequencies being played to create a unique experience. A “sci-fi season” is also being organised where some of the best science fiction movies (like Star Wars) will be screened.

Mr Creal hoped their new digital system and fresh rebrand would help bolster even further the increasing amount of visitors to the centre. Around 55,000 people visited the centre in 2017, 2000 more than the previous year.

Currently showing at the planetarium are two new films. Ice Worlds is an interesting documentary exploring ice around our solar system including the rings of Saturn to the arctic in our world.

Invaders Of Mars looks at the planet from early exploration to what we know now – such as a belief the planet was inhabited by Martians.

“That was because of the poor resolution of our teloscopes at the time. As our telescopes have improved … what we’ve seen were actually craters,” Mr Creal said.

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