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Much-loved Aberdeen planetarium to re-open after 10 years

Aberdeen's planetarium
Aberdeen's planetarium

Stargazers and budding space travellers will once again be able to explore the wonders of the galaxy with the re-opening of an Aberdeen planetarium which has been closed for a decade.

The facility at North East Scotland College closed around 10 years ago and has welcomed very few visitors since.

But following high demand from members of the public, college staff have announced it will soon play host to a new series of events.

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Several sessions aimed at youngsters will be held over three days next month, with other shows for adult audiences and more specialist star enthusiasts planned for later in the year.

Alan Glendinning, the college’s multimedia and technical services manager, said: “When the planetarium closed its doors a number of years ago, it left many stargazers disappointed.

“It is such a unique resource and we still get a lot of requests from the public to see it.

“So a group of us got together and, with the backing of senior management, we are bringing the planetarium back to life so that visitors can sit back, relax and enjoy a journey through space.”

Professor John Brown from Glasgow University inspects the NESCol (then Aberdeen College) planetarium in 2003.

The planetarium at the college’s Gallowgate campus opened in 1977, featuring a multi-lens projector system which cost the same as an average family house.

It was initially used to teach seafarers about maritime investigation but, as shipping technology became more advanced, it began to fall out of use.

In the late 1990s it was given a new lease of life with a grant from the Royal Astronomical Society, and welcomed scores of children and enthusiasts for educational trips.

Yet over the last 10 years it has only opened a handful of times for private events, including the filming of a television series with comedian Dara O Briain in 2010.

Jill Russell with an alien prop for a session at the planetarium in 2001.

But now, with new digital projectors installed to bolster the existing technology, it will once again host public sessions.

The classes, from Tuesday August 6 to Thursday August 8, will be hosted by science lecturer Dr Aakash Welgamage-Don.

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He said: “The first series of planetarium shows is aimed at children aged from nine to 12.

“We will take them on a journey to discover the wonders of the fascinating night sky and experience the galactic journey from the beginning of our life and solar system into the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond.”

For ticket information people can visit

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