SkyXplore SpaceDome Digital Planetarium brings the universe to schools in the Philippines starting at the Diliman Preparatory School in Quezon City.
Inside the SkyXplore SpaceDome planetarium with Nikki Coseteng.
April 30, 2010. SkyXplore Philippines was born.
On that day, the Diliman Preparatory School in Quezon City launched it’s latest pride, a mobile SpaceDome Digital Planetarium System. It’s part of former Philippine Senator Anna Dominique “Nikki” M.L. Coseteng’s SkyXplore (Sky Exlpore) Project of her Discover and Probe the Skies (DPS) Foundation Inc. which she introduced with the help of professional astronomers Frederick Gabriana and wife Rochelle of the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UPAS) and Pyxis Astronomy. The launch included an exhibit of telescopes, space photographs, and meteorites originally from the personal collection of Allen Yu.
Coseteng’s SkyXplore Project is an educational program stemming from her academic aspirations while serving as president of the Diliman Preparatory School. The mobile planetarium is one of the tools with which she explores new ways to educate Filipino students, giving them the opportunity to go beyond what’s taught and to learn from what’s possible using their creativity and imagination, thereby widening their experience beyond the confines of the classroom and textbook education. The planetarium uses compressed air to inflate and has a zippered entrance. It doesn’t look big from the outside, but it definitely can give a big show to audiences inside. Deflated, it is easily folded and stored in a light van or pickup for transport.
A meteorite display at the SkyXplore planetarium launch is inspected by Nikki Coseteng.
The SkyXplore SpaceDome Digital Planetarium uses a computer attached to a special planetarium projection system. It is Linux-based and uses an open-source software to display the heavens and show the sky as it appears at any time within the limits of the program. It is also able to display the constellations as other cultures see them. Astronomer Gabriana is including Filipino constellations in the program as described by indigenous peoples like the Aeta of Zambales. This project is being undertaken with the help of research made by Dr. Dante Ambrosio, a history professor of the University of the Philippines (UP). If completed by Gabriana, it will be the first time that Philippine constellations will be integrated in a planetarium program for the whole world to appreciate.
Coseteng’s DPS foundation takes the SkyXplore SpaceDome Planetarium to schools all over the country, promoting the science of astronomy and inspiring Filipino students to delve deeper into the fascinating world of science and technology. Ramon Acevedo, resident astronomer of the Seven Suites Hotel (along Sumulong Highway in Antipolo), showed his excitement at the launch of the SkyXplore Project. Educational astronomers like Acevedo hope that astronomy will become more popular in the Philippines through SkyXplore, as learning institutions are inspired by it to offer degree courses on the science. Astronomy is one subject that schools in the Philippines should give more attention to and astronomy professionals – amateurs, and hobbyists alike believe it’s high time that a few things change for the better in the Philippines’ educational system.
The SkyXplore SpaceDome fits easily in the Diliman Prep gymnasium.
It’s an accepted notion that astronomy is one science through which many people who, in their youth, have found inspiration in their decision to pursue degrees and careers in the sciences later in life. An interest in the shining objects in the sky is believed to have seeded the beginnings of science. It’s been said that the early peoples who first asked questions about the world around them began to wonder about the stars. With the SkyXplore SpaceDome Digital Planetarium in the Philippines, many more Filipinos will likely be asking and wondering about their place in the universe once they experience outer space inside the SpaceDome. It’s an unforgettable experience for everyone!
An animated movie preview shown inside the SkyXplore SpaceDome.