Coats Observatory, Paisley.
Now you can see the stars at any time, thanks to a new digital planetarium at Coats Observatory.
The old and the new combined at Coats Observatory recently when Scotland’s oldest public observatory, managed by Renfrewshire council’s arts and museums service, installed a new £11,500 digital planetarium, purchased from the Thomas Coats bequest, which can be enjoyed by daytime visitors as well as those attending the popular night sky viewings.
The observatory has had a planetarium since the late 1980s, allowing visitors to view a virtual version of the night sky from the comfort of their chair. Recently the planetarium has been upgraded to a state of the art digital version. This can project thousands of stars in an accurate representation of the night sky, can show the constellations by joining up the stars and then add the constellation art, which helps to show what the constellation represents and how its shape is made up from a group of stars.
The projector can also zoom in on many of the objects too faint to be seen except with a powerful telescope. High resolution images of distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters can all be called up at the push of a button, bringing the wonders of the universe much closer to visitors. All of the planets in our Solar System can also be viewed in incredible detail.
Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said; ‘Coats Observatory is one of Renfrewshire’s most unique buildings, experienced by thousands of visitors each year. The Grubb telescope gives visitors to the night sky viewings an incredible opportunity to view the wonders of the universe, but unfortunately our weather doesn’t always work in our favour. The new digital planetarium will allow visitors to learn about our skies at any time of the year and regardless of the weather. This investment demonstrates Renfrewshire council’s commitment to building on the unique assets of this authority and it is hoped that the new planetarium will encourage even more visitors locally, nationally and internationally.
As well as its ability to display the night sky the digital planetarium can also show films. These full-dome movies immerse the viewer completely as the image is projected onto the entire roof above their heads. The observatory hopes to expand the library of films available and develop a programme of shows which will bring the most up to date astronomical discoveries to our visitors in an interesting and innovative way.
Members of the public are invited to experience this stunning new technology, for free, at the weekly planetarium shows every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm. Booking is essential and can be made in person at Paisley Museum or by phoning 0141 840 6179. Maximum of 15 places.
All Paisley Photographs taken by Alex Kyle find more of photographs on Alex’s Facebook.