Stars to be just a few clicks away

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2008, 12:00am

Hongkongers will be able to control a space telescope by remote control over the internet after a HK$76.3 million Space Museum improvement scheme, its curator said yesterday.

Chan Ki-hung said the museum would build an interactive observatory and a stargazing theme park in Sai Kung, and install a new projector in the Space Theatre. Exhibition halls in the museum would also be refurbished.

By the end of next year or early 2010, Hong Kong internet users will get their virtual hands on the largest local telescope in the interactive observatory, free of charge. Users will enter commands on a webpage to specify the stars they want photographed.

Members of the public will either book a time to use the telescope exclusively or enter commands to be completed when the telescope becomes available.

While the observatory will open next month, the public will not be able to use the telescope's remote controls until all technical problems are worked out.

The Space Theatre, on Tsim Sha Tsui's waterfront, will also have a new digital planetarium projector installed, in a HK$34 million renovation. The projector, to be in use in July next year, will be able to simulate a starry sky viewed from anywhere in the universe.

'The existing projector can only simulate the sky as seen from Earth. Later, it will be able to produce images as seen from outside Earth, such as on Mars,' Mr Chan said.

Audience members wearing wireless headphones will be able to hear a narration in various languages. They will also be able to vote in polls using a new, interactive display unit installed in the armrests of their seats.

Meanwhile, stargazing fans will be able to visit the new Sai Kung Astropark, in the Chong Hing Water Sports Centre, from early next year.

The 1,200 square metre park will be divided into three zones: a telescopic observation area for amateur astronomers, a naked-eye observation area, and an education zone equipped with ancient Chinese astronomical instruments.


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