'World's biggest planetarium' set to be ready by the end of next year in Pudong

The Shanghai Planetarium will have the structure of its main building completed by February. It is expected to open to the public in 2020.

Shanghai Planetarium is reaching for the stars.

By the time it is built, it will be the world's biggest planetarium, according to Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, which will run it.

The structure of the main building will be finished before next February, and the whole complex will be ready by the end of next year, officials said on Wednesday.

Located in Xincheng Town of Pudong’s Nanhui area, the planetarium comprises a main building, a solar tower, a youth observation base and a public observatory.

Xu Xiaohong, director of the planetarium’s construction department, said 85 percent of the main structure had already been completed.

“The irregularly curving design of the structure added to the difficulty of the construction work. We will start the installation of electromechanical equipment from next year,” said Xu.

Ti Gong
Ti Gong

From the observatory, space enthusiasts will be able to look through an astronomical telescope to observe the solar system.

“This telescope will also have research functions,” said Shi Wei, director of the planetarium’s exhibition and education department. “It will be open to students to support their research projects. We will also build up a database and provide pictures taken by the astronomical telescope to astronomy fans.”

Shi recently discovered a nova when he was taking part in a "popular supernova project" this month. It was the first nova to be discovered by a Shanghai-based astronomy follower this year.

Shi found the nova on September 2 after making a comparison of pictures taken by an astronomical telescope in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The discovery received a credential certification on September 13 after a spectrum of the nova candidate was obtained by a telescope located in Spain.

The spectrum confirmed Shi’s discovery to be a classical nova eruption in M31 — 2.5 million light years away from Earth.

Ma Yue / SHINE

Shi Wei explains his discovery.

Ti Gong

“A lot of nova and super nova were discovered by astronomy fans and amateurs,” said Shi. “The astronomical telescope to be installed at the Shanghai Planetarium will also provide local fans with such opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum announced that it will present a Starry Sky Illumination exhibition starting from Tuesday.

With the help of the Megastar II celestial globe, visitors will be able to experience the feeling of being surrounded by 22 million stars in a 200 square meter space. World class astronomical photography and meteorites will also be exhibited.

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