Yes – Edinburgh has a fantastic new planetarium at Dynamic Earth! I went to visit Planetarium Manager and former Royal Observatory Edinburgh astronomer, Dr Alastair Bruce yesterday for a look around the dome and a  sneak preview of some of their shows.

I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up a trip to a planetarium was always one of my favourite experiences and a very influential element in starting my astronomical journey. I remember as a child making trips to the London Planetarium, the Royal Observatory Greenwich (with the late Heather Couper presenting), Jodrell Bank and of course more recently there’s the Space Theatre in Glasgow too. Well we now have an impressive and exciting one in Edinburgh which is sure to inspire the next generation of astronomers. And Alastair is perfect for the role  – if you’ve ever met him you’ll know why. He’s a fabulous and enthusiastic communicator.

Gone are the monolithic, alien-looking projectors dominating the centre of the dome. Now replaced with hidden, high quality projectors around the edge – a new state-of-the-art 6k Digital Planetarium. The graphics are impressive and totally immersive, and coupled with some great music, a planetarium show will definitely leave a lasting impression on you.

It’s still relatively new and they are developing their programme, but already there are a number of 25 minute shows that you can go to – as part of your trip around Dynamic Earth, or just a planetarium visit. You can see the current Planetarium Schedule so you can choose your show. Titles include: We are aliens, You are here, What’s up, We are astronomers, We are stars and more. Have a look at some of their impressive trailers.

On 24/25 September – and in Oct/Nov too, they will be doing 45 minute evening shows too: You are here and Holst’s Planets 360 Classic. And you can ask questions of experienced astronomers at the end. The What’s Up show in Autumn 2021 will have a bit of stargazing training for the season, a beginner’s guide to ‘rainbow-making’ and a focus on the news of the imminent launch of the Webb telescope.

I’ll definitely be taking the family back to see it all properly. It really is amazing!

Mark Phillips