The Shanghai Astronomy Museum, a branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, has opened to the public in China as the world’s largest planetarium.
Spread across approximately 420,000 square feet, the Shanghai Astronomy Museum is home to more than 300 exhibits that include around 70 meteorites, as well as 120 collections of artefacts.
Interactive exhibits occupy half of all exhibit space, and the museum features technologies such as data visualisation, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and biometrics.
Shanghai offering observatories and telescopes
The museum features an Ultra HD dome theatre, digital sky theatre, education and research centre, and IMAX theatre. It also houses permanent and temporary exhibit galleries, a solar telescope, and an observatory.
It was conceived by US firm Ennead Architects, which won an international competition to design the building in 2014. The museum’s design is inspired by astronomical principles.
“We want people to understand the special nature of the Earth as a place that hosts life, unlike any other place that we know of in the universe,” said lead designer and partner Thomas J Wong (via CNN).
Ennead Architects designed new planetarium
“We really thought that we could leverage the architecture to bring incredible impact to this whole experience,” Wong added. “The building is meant to be this embodiment of astronomically inspired architecture.”
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum consists of one main structure and other buildings – these include observatories with telescopes offering HD observation of the surface of the moon and planets.
The museum’s “exhibits and architecture will communicate more than scientific content: they will illuminate what it means to be human in a vast and largely unknown universe”, Wong said in a previous statement.