The Montréal Planetarium, located on rue Saint-Jacques, will be closing on October 11 to allow the current team to plan and produce the programming for the new Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, which is slated to open in spring 2013. So families and astronomy buffs still have a few days left to visit this Space for Life, which presents the starry sky this month and multimedia shows for all ages. For the past 45 years, the Montréal Planetarium has been explaining and making the fascinating universe of astronomy and space exploration accessible to everyone.
A number of its finest astronomy shows have marked important phases in our lives, in fact. To name just a few of them, there was New Skies for a New City, its inaugural show, Destination Moon, presented just a few months before Neil Armstrong took his famous steps in 1969, and, more recently, Galileo Live, a show produced in conjunction with the International Year of Astronomy, in 2009.
Built in 1966, the Montréal Planetarium was the very first large planetarium in Canada. The building houses the Star Theatre, with seating for 385 in seats that recline 23 degrees, and a Zeiss star projector. This optical and mechanical instrument, resembling a giant 2.5 tonne insect, was the most modern of its kind anywhere in the world when it was first installed. It crouches at the centre of the theatre, with 150 fixed and moveable projectors. Despite its age, it still makes it possible to accurately recreate the starry sky at any time – past, present or future – from any point on the Earth’s surface.