A MOBILE planetarium, a model in miniature of Majorca's Observatory at Costitx will be doing the rounds of schools and colleges in the Balearics next year as part of a campaign to heighten awareness during International Astronomy Year.

Observatory director, Salvador Sanchez, said yesterday that the retractable dome mechanism on the mini-planetarium will open out to provide 60 possible “maps” of the solar system and galaxy. The unit will travel to different municipalities around the Islands to centres which have booked it, beginning with Palma. The most adequate and appropriate siting for the planetarium will be decided beforehand. Sanchez said that in Palma, it will be stationed in the Misericordia park, at the Council of Majorca, and at other public centres including a special session at the Balearic Parliament. State-of-the-art technology incorporated into the travelling planetarium will provide extra educational features including a replica of the telescope which would have been used by Galileo. Other projects to mark Astronomy year include a new remote telescope activated at the Observatory centre which will be accessible on the Internet.

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