Johannesburg Planetarium

Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg Planetarium’s origins date back to 1956, when the city decided to create a planetarium in Johannesburg. The decision was considered to be a suiting way to honour the seventieth anniversary of the founding of Johannesburg, and the committee immediately began the process of fund raising to purchase the popular Zeiss brand planetarium equipment.

However, the committee was unable to procure a new Zeiss system in time for the anniversary celebration and had to search for alternatives. The City Council of Hamburg came to the committee’s assistance by supplying a refurbished and fully modernised version of the Zeiss system Hamburg had been using since 1930. Today, the Johannesburg planetarium receives around 70,000 visitors a year ,proving that despite the many years under its projector’s solar belt, the planetarium remains as popular and relevant today as it was then.

On 12 October 1960, the planetarium finally opened, heralding the first full-sized planetarium in Africa and only the second in the southern hemisphere. Owned by the University Witwatersrand, the planetarium is run in co-operation with the City of Johannesburg. The planetarium offers a full range of shows and events to keep its visitors occupied, including the opportunity for children to travel with Thomas the astronaut.

The centre is very adaptable and is available for hosting birthday parties and ‘astro’ courses intended to give students an introduction to the universe, galaxies, stars, planets, and the solar system, amongst other topics. If a visit to the planetarium has whet your appetite to know more, these short, four lecture courses are perfect for finding out more and require no prior knowledge of astronomy.

For those wanting to take their interest that step further, the centre can assist with supplying information on purchasing telescopes and even has a supply of the impressive instruments available for sale.

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