Planetarium of Bogotá

Planetarium of Bogotá

The Planetarium of Bogotá was an idea materialized in 1967 by the Mayor of Bogotá, at that time, Virgilio Barco Vargas with the support of the National Federation of Coffee Growers and the Coffee Bank. It was the 1960s when the Apollo Moon missions promoted a renewed interest in astronomy and space sciences throughout the world.

The original idea of ​​the project was to offer Bogotá and the country a cultural center with scientific activities and astronomy in particular as its axis. All this was agreed in Agreement No. 74 of 1967 of the Council of Bogota, which authorized the Mayor to contract with the National Federation of Coffee Growers, the construction, assembly and operation of a planetarium, with this was given free rein to our own space race , the race to observe the Universe.

Once the agreement was made, efforts were made to obtain a space to build the Planetarium and a lot was chosen for its location between the Plaza de Toros and the Parque de la Independencia that belonged to the Granada and Regina Hotels. This lot is transferred to the Municipality in October 1967 by means of deed 3743 of Notary 4 and the ownership of the Planetarium will be in consequence of the Popular Development and Culture Fund of the Special District.

In December 1967, the Federation of Coffee Growers and the Curaçao Commercial Company formalized the promise of sale of a Planetarium with resale on credit to the Special District of Bogotá.

In September 1968 the Contract between the company VEB CARL ZEISS of Jena in the German Democratic Republic, the National Federation of Coffee Growers and the District is celebrated, which among other points grants the faculty of completely autonomous operation of the Planetarium to its Administrative Board, and to the Coffee Bank the trust of the income for the payment of the debt.

The firm of architects-engineers Pizano, Pradilla, Caro and Restrepo, was in charge of the construction of the building. During this time, the projection equipment was imported, purchased from the Veb Carl Zeiss house, which involved a barter transaction for coffee. Its assembly was carried out between October and December 1969 by specialized personnel sent by the manufacturer with the collaboration of Colombian technicians.

The projection equipment is a Mark VI model, built in 1967, mounted inside our dome 23 meters in diameter, one of the largest in the world, it began in October 1969 and lasted almost three months. This projector, an optical, mechanical and electrical equipment composed of more than 160 projectors, allows to represent on a dome-shaped screen the stars, the planets, the Sun and many other wonders of the Universe, has worked tirelessly during the 43 years of the Planetarium from Bogota.

The VI model was produced by the Jena factory until 1968 and by the Oberkochen factory until 1989. Then the German factory has produced three generations of projectors: in 1984 a new large-domo equipment was introduced, the COSMORAMA, followed in 1989 by the launch of the UNIVERSARIUM team, the first to use fiber optics. Model VII of 1993 was the first project carried out by the reunited company ZEISS.

But let's go back a little to the beginning of 1969. On April 22 of that year, one of the first meetings of the Board of Directors of the Planetarium is held, which states that the Planetarium will house the Museum of Natural Sciences. In the same meeting, the astronomer Clemente Garavito is held in charge of the Planetary Director, and Alfonso González Pérez as technician.

In May of 1969 Clemente Garavito and Alfonso González are commissioned to travel to the German Democratic Republic to attend a course on "administration, direction and use of planetariums, and the technique and management of equipment. You can also visit other planetariums in order to get more information. "

26B Street No.5 - 93

Bogota Colombia

PBX: (+571) 2814150 and 3795750 ext: 9105, 9104


Taken from Planetario de Bogotá