Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is donating its mobile planetarium to the Oman Astronomical Society (OAS) to help raise awareness and knowledge of astronomy across the country.
The space-age attraction has supplemented the Company’s main planetarium at the Knowledge World Centre in Al Qurum and attracted more than 23,000 visitors to a variety of locations including Muscat, Salalah and Nizwa.
PDO officially handed over the inflatable dome during a Memorandum of Understanding signing today (11 October) between OAS Chairman Dr Saleh bin Said Al Shithani and PDO External Affairs and Value Creation Director Abdul-Amir Abdul-Hussein Al Ajmi who said: “We are pleased to donate the mobile planetarium to the Oman Astronomical Society with which we enjoy a fruitful and rewarding relationship.
“The mobile planetarium is a valuable educational and entertainment tool which PDO has been able to take to locations across the Sultanate to raise understanding about the wonders of our universe. We wish our partners in the OAS the very best in continuing and expanding this vital mission so many more can learn about the cosmos.”
The semi-sphere structure has 10-metre diameter and a maximum height of 5.7m. It consists of three covering layers of fabric with film coating, a fast-assembly aluminium frame and a fan.
Once inside, visitors are entertained by a digital cube projection unit, a 3D event horizon application with more than 10 million stars, constellations and the solar system and visual data in a 360-degree format.
Audiences of all ages have so far enjoyed a variety of shows, including Cocomong: A Space Adventure for children, and 10 Steps Through The Sky, giving adults an introduction to astronomy basics, its history and major discoveries, including the work of Galileo and Copernicus, as well as perspectives offered by the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes.
Dr Shithani said: “The Oman Astronomical Society is gearing up, with PDO, to bring the wonders of the celestial sphere closer to people’s homes. We are planning to use the portable planetarium dome and its projection system in daytime to immerse school pupils in rich learning settings and provide an animated stargazing experience without the disturbance of light pollution.
“We thank PDO for its contribution and plan to maximise the number of people who will be able to witness the sky at night, its fascinating astronomical phenomena and the wonders of space.”
Note to editors: Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is the major exploration and production company in the Sultanate. It accounts for about 70% of the country's crude-oil production and nearly all of its natural-gas supply. The Company is owned by the Government of Oman (which has a 60% interest), the Shell Group (which has a 34% interest), Total (which has a 4% interest) and Partex (which has a 2% interest). Gas fields and processing plants are operated by PDO exclusively on behalf of the Government.
For further information please contact the PDO External Affairs Directorate:
Karima Farid Al Shahaibi,
Media Relations Advisor,