News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Feb. 26, 2021: A Caribbean country now has its first planetarium.
St. Eustatius opened the planetarium on Feb. 23, 2021. It houses a theatre audience of 25 people. They will gaze onto the ceiling where the fascinating aspects and history of the night sky will be realistically projected and explained.
It began as an educational project spearheaded by Jaap Vreling and Ishmael Berkel.
Jaap teaches at the University of Amsterdam and was part of the Dutch Research Group of Astronomy in 2010, where a dome project was started. With a team of 14 university astronomy students, he travelled with 3 domes to schools throughout the Netherlands, exhibiting, and at times having astronomy being integrated into school programs, as the presence of the planetarium on site served as a key visual aid for the teaching of that subject.
For a number of years, Jaap dreamt of being able to bring a planetarium to Statia. The island’s own Ishmael Berkel, was also harboring that dream, and many discussions were held between the two before they helped to make it a reality.
Located at the Lynch Plantation, the dome is equipped with the latest software in this industry, guests will be enveloped by the features of its projection theatre, resulting in realistic experiences as they journey through the universe.
The public opening was on February 24 and 25, and will also be today, Feb. 26th, from 9 a.m. to 12 pm. Currently, there is no cost for entry as it is still in its pilot stage. However, the developers have indicated that an entry fee may eventually be charged.
“The future is bright,” expressed Berkel. “And we are here to ensure that all Statians, big and small, have a chance to enjoy it. We also envision that tourists visiting our island will be able to have this attraction added to their vacation experience.”
The planetarium is now also an additional tourist attraction on the island.