Year 2004 marks twenty years from the closing of the historical Planetarium of Rome , which was located in the Minerva's hall, within the Diocletian's baths.
That Planetarium was - together with the one in Milan - the biggest all over Italy. It also was a very well known facility, appreciated by the population of the town and often visited by tourists.
Being opened in 1928, the Planetarium of Rome was also one of the first-ever Planetariums in the world. When it was closed to the public, Rome lost one of its few scientific culture resources, a lack that has been constantly emphasized by the mass media, by the citizens and by the huge crowd of the town's amateur astronomers.
But now, with the opening of a new Planetarium in the E.U.R.'s district, the city of Rome Cultural Policies Councillorship finally returns to its citizens a brand new institution, meant to be of extreme value for the popularization and the didactic of astronomy.
The Planetarium is also part of a wider facility, including both a Documentation Centre and an Astronomical Museum .
The new Planetarium is hosted inside the Museum of Roman Civilization and it ideally represents the final destination of a journey that, starting from the vestiges of the ancient past, will bring the visitors to the wonders of a faraway future throughout both humanistic and scientific cultures.
The realization of the new Planetarium has been a quite difficult operation, involving not only the City Council of Rome but also the Regional Government of Lazio and the State University La Sapienza, with funding coming from various institutions and resources.
This project has also been possible thanks to the collaboration and cooperation of both the direction and of all the staff of the Museum of Roman civilization, although the Planetarium itself is under the direction of the Scientific Museums of Rome's network system.
Given that the Planetarium was going to be located in a pre-existent museum, the whole project was developed trying to minimize an invasive presence, by deeply considering a possible reversibility of the operation in order to grant the integrity of the holder, on the one hand, and the possibility of using the location for different purposes on the other.
The Planetarium takes up 300 sqm and is covered by a dome manufactured by the French firm Denis.
The star projector is a SN 95 II by RSA Cosmos (the old Zeiss Model II is now in exposition).
The dome has a diameter of 14 meters and is able to seat more than 100 people in comfortable ergonomic armchairs, arranged in concentric rows.
Apart from the star projector, the dome is also equipped with a digital system Sky Explorer supported by a single digital channel In Space System, that allows projecting images, videos and animations in three different directions of the dome with three NEC digital video-projectors.
Moreover, there are twelve slide-projectors used for panoramas and all-sky projections and an 8 channels audio system.
This extremely modern equipment-set is expected to offer both automated and live shows.
The shows will be aimed to both pupils form school groups but also to a more general public, with an estimated annual attendance of around 100.000 visitors.
THE ASTRONOMICAL MUSEUM
The museum's exposition covers an area of about 400 sqm, but it is quite different from any traditional museum or science centre. This museum wishes to be a sort of “astronomical theatre” where the visitor's curiosity and want of discovery will be enhanced by the help of images, animations and of a huge collection of models and dioramas. The visiting tour starts from the Earth then goes on with a “landing” on the Moon, followed by a journey to the Solar System planets and the interstellar space. The virtual journey is supposed to stimulate the visitors' interest in crucial themes such as Time, Space and the Origin of the Chemical Elements, which will all be developed throughout the visit. The visitor will then be cast back to Earth through a virtual “black hole”.
Among the installations and facilities in the Museum area there are:
two big dioramas, representing the lunar surface and the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa
a section of a star, in which visitors will be invited to enter to see the inner structure of a star
the in scale models of the Solar System Planets and of the Moon
10 multimedia workstations enabling to expand onto the contents of the exposition with images, videos and didactical games
35 show cases reproducing models of satellites, space probes and the like
HOW TO ARRIVE
Autobus : 30, 170, 671, 714, 764, 765, 767, 791
Metropolitana : Linea B - fermata Eur Fermi