Expo 2008 was conducted simultaneously in the cities of San Cristobal, Maracaibo, Valencia, Cumana and Bolivar, celebrating the launch of the satellite Simón Bolívar. Hundreds of scientific institutions attended and the Research Centre for Astronomy, CIDA, demonstrated the vast array of educational activities developed there.
The first Venezuelan-built planetarium Sidereum was on display. While its projection system was designed to be mobile, the quality of the night sky depicted in the planetarium is almost as good as professional projection systems, but costs a lot less. Since the Planetarium has been tested in several cities, its performance and the quality of the dome have improved. The dome can hold up to 130 people.
During the 2-day event, about 3300 people at a rate of 120 people per presentation attended the show. This illustrates the high impact that planetariums have on growing science popularity.
CIDA made an important contribution to Expo 2008, with the presentation in posters of other important projects such as multi-spectral camera, the telescope reflector for schools, the research program in astronomy and astrophysics, the National Project on Scientific Signs, the national program of astronomy in schools, etc.
We acknowledge the effort and work of the staff who helped, installed and operated the planetarium. It was very tiring work owing to both the size of the planetarium and by the large amount of public attention.
Enrique Torres - UNAWE Venezuela