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New Toronto Planetarium

A New Toronto Planetarium

A New Toronto Planetarium

Rendering of the Miami Planetarium

Rendering of the new planetarium at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami. The exterior of the planetarium lights up to display a changing menu of celestial sights to passers-by.  (Credit: Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science)

The University of Toronto plans to build a new world-class, publicly accessible planetarium in the heart of the downtown Toronto. The planetarium on our St. George campus will feature a 200-seat dome using the latest digital projection technologies to give U of T students and members of the public unrivalled access to the cosmos. We need the help and support of the Toronto community to build a landmark to educate and entertain generations of visitors. To learn more about how you can get involved in making this vision a reality, please contact chair@astro.utoronto.ca.

Innovative public science

The new U of T Planetarium will be a focal point for innovative public education. With a new dome and a state-of-the-art projection system, we will welcome tens of thousands of guests each year, becoming a tourist and cultural centrepiece for the city.

A world-class teaching space and a public planetarium

The new U of T Planetarium will be a world-class teaching facility. Every student taking astronomy classes on campus will be able to explore the cosmos in real-time, using the beautiful and scientifically accurate models enabled by digital projection technologies

 

Photo of people using World Wide Telescope

Modern digital projection technologies, such as World Wide Telescope, enable exploration of the entire cosmos in real time, using data from real telescopes and space probes. (Credit: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/)

An architectural landmark

The new U of T Planetarium will be an architecturally distinctive Toronto landmark. Modern planetariums are known for daring architectural designs. The planetarium at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain resembles a colossal eye, connoting an openness to new knowledge and perspectives. At the Nagoya City Science Museum in Japan, the largest planetarium in the world hovers in mid-air over a pedestrian walkway. The Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is known for its dramatic design, in which the sphere of the planetarium hovers above the museum floor, serving as the Sun in a scale model of the solar system.

Unparalleled scientific visualization

The new U of T Planetarium will be an incredible space for collaborative scientific visualization. Modern digital planetariums are used for far more than astronomy, from visualizing climate data to exploring the interior of the human brain. The new U of T Planetarium will be accessible to scientists, engineers, artists, and indigenous leaders to pursue research, educational, and cultural activities.

Why does Toronto need a public planetarium?

Big cities are great places to live, but they are bad for seeing the night sky. Light pollution and poor weather make the wonders of the night sky inaccessible to most urban dwellers. Planetariums not only provide ready access to detailed recreations of the night sky, they allow us to visualize any part of the cosmos in stunning detail – something we can’t do even with a powerful telescope at a dark site.

 

Toronto is the largest metropolitan area in North America not served by a large public planetarium. From 1968 to 1995, the independent McLaughlin Planetarium entertained and educated generations of Torontonians. Since it closed in 1995, Toronto has been without a major planetarium. All cities of comparable size and many smaller ones have city-scale planetariums. Around the world, few highly developed cities of the size of Toronto lack a large public planetarium. U of T Astronomy wants to address this need by bringing a major planetarium back to the city.

 

Photo of Valencia Planetarium

Photo of the Hemisfèric planetarium at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain (Credit: cac.es)

 

Photo of the Hayden Planetarium

The Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City represents the Sun in a scale model of the solar system. Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the foreground (Credit: Alfred Gracombe)

Hayden Planetarium Space Show: Dark Universe

A computer simulation showing the cosmic web of dark matter. Courtesy AMNH/Denis Finnin

 

Planetarium Plan

Plans are currently underway for a New Astronomy Building, which will likely be located at 50 St. George Street. This exciting building project promises to provide the infrastructure needed to bring together astronomy and astrophysics faculty and students that are currently spread over several buildings, along with new labs and modern teaching spaces.

Our vision is to build a publicly accessible planetarium that is the architectural and educational centerpiece of the New Astronomy Building. The academic excellence of the department will ensure that quality and current content is available. Highly trained astronomers and researchers will curate and narrate shows at the New Toronto Planetarium, bringing outstanding education to diverse community members.

Looking Forward

We are currently in the design phase of this project – working with architects to determine the best way to turn this vision into a reality. From 2018 to 2020, we hope to develop a blueprint for a building that will become a centre for inspiring scientific education for Toronto and the surrounding communities.

 

U of T Astronomy has a proud legacy of over 100 years of supporting public education and passion for Astronomy and the exploration of the Universe. If you are interested in learning how to support the campaign for the New Toronto Planetarium and 100 more years of educational excellence and outreach, please contact us for more information.

 

Contact:

Professor Raymond Carlberg at chair@astro.utoronto.ca