I have fond memories of visiting the Singapore Science Centre’s Omni-Theatre during my school days, and recall being wowed by the large domed screen as I leaned back to contemplate the vast incomprehensibility of the universe.
We were recently invited to a preview before the newly revamped Omni-Theatre opens to the public from 30 May 2015. It was awesome.
Yes, that’s our third rock from the sun, suspended in space, by the grace of our heavenly Father. (Screen shot taken during show from my seat.)
The grand old theatre has specifically been “digitally enhanced with the latest and brightest 8K digital planetarium system”. It also boasts “Digistar 5 visualisation software with real time data from agencies such as NASA”. If that doesn’t sound cool, I don’t know what does. But what does it really mean?
Basically it means:
- We have (Digistar 5) Software that enables the science centre folk to bring up real-time views of planets and the moon, stars and all that jazz, as well as zoom-in and zoom-out at will
- We have the world’s brightest 8K system with a projector that is 30,000 lumens bright (read: first rate projector)
- The 23m-diameter seamless dome screen is Southeast Asia’s largest
- There are 43.54 million tiny holes that allow sound from the speakers and air from air-conditioners to pass through to the audience, even as the screen covers 80% of a hemisphere and wraps around the audience, which far exceeds one’s field of vision (i.e. you can’t see the edges of the screen if you look at the middle of the screen)
And it was a truly amazing experience as we zoomed into planets and even saw an unexpected asteriod shower whizz past. Here are some shots taken as the science educators, Mr Yong Jian-Yi and Mr Ishak Khan, brought us through “live” real-time exploratory space travel through Earth’s moon and the planets in our solar system.
The yellow labels name the crowd of satellites that orbit planet Earth today. That and lots of other space junk lies out there, as I found out from watching a youtube video.
And… after zooming in like a zillion times, we see… Singapore! It’s nighttime but we are extremely ‘light polluted’.
Then we zoomed over to Mount Everest, and as we wowed over its folds and peaks (and tried to spot tiny rivulets), I said a silent prayer for the people of Nepal.
The science educators walked us through views of (from top left, clockwise in the photo below) the moon, Mars, Saturn and Neptune. I missed the rest cos a certain little Miss had to go to the loo. Cue traipsing down steep stairs in the dark, argh.
Here is the said little Miss, juxtaposed against majestic Jupiter (with drops of Jupiter in her hair?).
Somehow I can never tire of gazing at our earth.
And this view from the moon, where the earth seems just a little speck in the distant background, gives a good perspective of how vast the universe is, once again.
The digital movie “Back to the Moon for Good” covered the history of lunar exploration, and a current competition for privately funded teams from all around the world to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon. The most interesting moment in that movie for me was the depiction of how a projectile launched into one of the deep recesses of the moon threw up a cloud of particles, including H2O. The competition and the profiling of each team was a bit ho-hum.
Apart from space exploration, the IMAX system screens films on animals, marine life and natural disasters (I recall watching one on volcanos called the Ring of Fire?). The image and sound quality in such a theatre is indeed unparalleled.
So if you’re panicking because the kids will have no school for the whole of June, bring them down to the Science centre, and let them be mesmerized by the sights and sounds of our beautiful universe. There are 6 different shows, ranging from those on Pandas to “live” exploration of our cosmos. Animalopolis, in particular, is recommended for younger kids from ages 3 to 8. Check this Omni-Theatre showtime schedule for more details. Tickets are priced from $12-$14.
Here’s a map that you might find useful too – park at the KidsSTOP/Snow-City/Omni-Theatre carpark (shown below), it’s nearer to the Omni-Theatre than the main Science Centre carpark.
Thank you Science Centre Singapore, for your hospitality. The girls loved their Chick-A-Cup too (drink, snack and ketchup in a cup – that container must have won some award for innovation), as you can tell.