DOME RISING QUICKLY
Building has begun for the development of the Cosmos Centre’s Planetarium
WITH 25,000 visitors a year – locals, grey nomads, tourists and family travellers – already marvelling at the splendour of the Charleville night sky, the universal love of stargazing is being reflected in growing numbers to the region and has now prompted an expansion of the Cosmos Centre.
Building has begun for the development of the Centre’s Planetarium, due to open next Easter and set to cater to the increasing popularity of the Outback region.
Murweh Shire tourism manager Monique Johnson said the slab had been poured and next week the wall (to which the planetarium dome would to be attached) would be built.
“The dome should be erected by the end of November, then we’ll put in the projectors and special seats and air-conditioning.”
Ms Johnson said the Centre had been attracting families embarking on camping holidays to regional Queensland including Charleville and its surrounding shires and school tours, especially from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Emerald, and Hervey Bay.
She said the Planetarium, with seating for about 50, would allow stargazers to enjoy the night sky even on cloudy nights when stars weren’t visible, and would be used to showcase different planetarium shows as well as to replicate the night sky above Charleville.
“The planetarium will be like looking at a clear night sky – it will be like looking at exactly like what they would have seen. You will be able to see the stars hail, rain or shine.”
She said the shows are yet to be decided, but will vary, and will hopefully include a film on the WW2 history.
Ms Johnson, whose personal favourite constellation is the Milky Way, said it was easy to take the Outback night sky for granted, however tourists from cities and overseas were amazed by the views, undeterred by light pollution.
“People connect to the universe is so many different ways. At the Cosmos Centre we try to come up with different ways to ensure all their guests connect to the heavens above.
“The planetarium is another medium to ensure this connections happens. We hope that it will generate people’s passion to learn and understand more about where we fit into this vast and magnificent universe.”
The new Planetarium will also further promote growth for the region, and will allow visitor numbers to the centre to more than double.
“Every night that we can keep a visitor in town also helps a lot of locals in jobs. Extra time equals more dollars in accommodation and other local business sales.”
Ms Johnson said the Planetarium would be both an educational and entertaining experience for people of all ages, genders and races.
“No matter what land you come from, language you speak or age you are, everyone will be able to take something away from their experience.”
Murweh Shire Council Mayor Annie Liston said she was “very excited” about the new Planetarium as an added tourist attraction for the area and its ability to be used even when the sky was overcast.
“This is a positive for Murweh. People from the city don’t get to experience the same thing because of the high rise buildings, so they love it. We get so many positive comments about the wide open spaces.”
Cr Liston said that personally she loved the “beautiful” clear, big skies which made her feel “relaxed”.
❝be The dome should erected by the end of November, then we’ll put in the projectors and special seats and air-conditioning.
— Tourism manager Monique Johnson
SKYLIGHT: Things are hotting up at the new Planetarium site. The fabulous centre will compliment the Observatory for those cloudy nights.