Today, on June 23, 2013, a Planetarium constructed on the basis of Engelgardt Astronomical observatory of Kazan Federal University was opened with a formal ceremony. The President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Mr. Rustam Minnikhanov, Rector of KFU, Mr. Ilshat Gafurov, Deputy Ministry of Finance of Russia, a member of the Board of Trustees of KFU, Mr. Alexey Lavrov, and many honoured guests, including young students of IT lyceum and Lobachevskiy lyceum of KFU, took part in this opening ceremony.
“Kazan Planetarium is the only planetarium in Russia which is a part of a university,” said Mr. Gafurov addressing the opening ceremony participants. “By equipment level only planetariums in Moscow, Yaroslavl and Novosibirsk can be compared with it, but their construction was financed from the budget and cost their owners – that is, city authorities – several times as much. But as for us, we studied the experience of 22 planetariums from 9 countries of the world to achieve the best “price/quality” ratio. And here is the result. The Planetarium fully blends with the University structure and will serve its scientific society,” added the Rector. He also noted that Planetarium would give the way to space, physics, chemistry and biology to today’s schoolchildren and students and facilitate rebirth of the prestige of science in our country.
Mr. Ilshat Gafurov expressed special gratitude to top authorities of the Republic of Tatarstan, who supported the initiative to construct the Astropark, as well as to Ak Bars Bank, OJSC as one of the key investors of the project, Ak Bars Stroy, LLC (general contractor of the Planetarium) and the Deputy Minister of Finance of the RF, Mr. Alexey Lavrov, who spent his childhood in Observatoriya settlement and became a true generator of the new Planetarium construction process.
Having taken the floor, Mr. Rustam Minnikhanov noted that the Planetarium was a very important, but still only the next stage of large-scale KFU development plan implementation, and that the science inbuilt there must be preserved and developed.
The President of the RT handed over a historical document to the Rector of KFU. This document of the year 1911 contains description of roads to the observatory. He also handed over a Latter of Gratitude of the President of the RT to the Director General of Global Soft, LLC, Mr. Ilnat Khayrullin, for a contribution to equipping of Engelgardt astronomic observatory of KFU with modern scientific equipment.
Then the floor was given to a member of the Board of Trustees of KFU, Deputy Minister of Finance of the RF, Mr. Aleksey Lavrov. He said that the Planetarium of Engelgardt astronomic observatory of KFU was the best in our country and one of the best in the world. He also said that “Univers” was the Latin for “the Universe”, and it was great that our Federal University opened a window to “Univers”, the Universe, on the eve of the World Universiade to be held in Kazan. “It means that this project has a brilliant future,” noted Lavrov. Then he read out a congratulating telegram from the First Deputy Minister of Finance of Russia, Ms. Tatyana Nesterenko.
When the ceremonial part of this event was over, the guests were invited to the Planetarium building. Stands in the hall represented information on the following topics: the Astropark construction process; future projects to be jointly implemented by KFU observatories in North Caucasus and Turkey and the Institute of Applied Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Science; foundation of the Space Exploration and Technologies Centre under Kazan Federal University. Guests were also shown a popular-science film about our Galaxy created in the so-called full-dome format.
To commemorate his visit, President Minnikhanov made an entry in the Honoured Guests Book. In two weeks the Planetarium is expected to start functioning on a constant basis; the proposed ticket price will be 100 to 200 roubles.
Reference information: KFU Planetarium is unique to Russia because of its equipment. Applied here for the first time in the country was a hybrid demonstration technology – a digital system destined for watching full-dome films is combined in it with optical-mechanical projector (Starball). The Planetarium dome itself (the model developer – Premium Seam company) was constructed with an inclination of 10 degrees, which is the world trend as it permits to achieve maximum efficiency during watching. The software support is Uniview (a digital simulator of the Universe), as well as modules of the Planetarium control programs offered by the Swedish company SCISS AB.
The dome was made by the American company Spitz Inc of thin perforated plates.
At the present time there are the films “Black Holes”, “Darwin’s Evolution”, “Galaxy Development” available in the Planetarium.
The cost of the building construction, including external supply lines and service lines, made about 150 mln rub., the same was the equipment cost, with the total cost making 300 mln rub. Ak Bars Stroy, LLC was the general contractor of the Planetarium construction. Total area of the observatory is about 15 ha. First of all, the Astropark is a research-and-training and, consequently, cognition and entertainment centre. It includes centres for visitors aimed at popularization of astronomy and Earth science, and a scientific complex, which permits to conduct observations of space objects both independently and in the framework of diverse programs – in cooperation with other astronomical stations. The Planetarium is equipped with state-of-the-art observation and projection equipment to support educational programs of KFU and other natural-science establishments, as well as lessons and school extra-mural classes, excursions and observations etc.
This centre will ensure efficient application of space activity results and high-class specialist training. It is proposed to include the Centre in the ground support service for Russian and international space programs (GLONASS, “Luna-Glob”, “Luna-Resource” etc.). In addition, the cases in question are gravimetric and seismic observations, the Earth atmosphere exploration, metrological polygon development for satellite equipment testing, academic and educational activity. The University has already trained specialists to work in the Centre.
The first stone was put in the Planetarium and future Astropark foundation two years ago, on August 22, 2011.