National Planetarium: A Short Trip Around the Universe

All of us had been that kid who once dreamt of travelling in space. I, too, was a victim of my overly-creative mind. In retrospect, I guess my odd fascination with space was the reason why the song, “Drops of Jupiter”  have always resonated through my soul. Or the reason why I have always wanted a telescope ever since I saw the movie, “A Walk to Remember“. And that’s why observatories like National Planetarium is God’s gift to humanity. Though only simulated, we can still let our imaginations run wild, like floating with the stars or watching other planets from million light years away.

National Planetarium is located in the heart of Manila, alongside other museums. It is smaller in comparison to the other galleries, but I hope it still is worth my visit.

I can barely remember anything about National Planetarium. The first and last time I was here was during our grade school field trip. I hope this will be the to refresh a buried memory.

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The gates of the observatory has all of the zodiac signs etched on the steel bars—which also serves as its design. But the ticket counter is closed. It seems  to me that it has been closed for a very long time because I see some dust on the ledge.

We trace our way to the entrance, which is located at the back of National Planetarium. The line is long—much as I suspect it will be.

As we get our turn to go inside, we were first instructed to leave our bags on the baggage counter. I left everything except my camera and wallet.

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What a beauty! I envy the earlier people who have seen this in the night skies. Light pollution is getting worse and worse by the minute, it’s saddening.

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Sun and Earth are too close here—maybe the reason why our summer has been a bit hellish.

I have never felt this giddy in a long while. Tapping a certain childhood memory is always fun. We get to get in touch with our juvenile emotions. Or it can bring weird realizations of how things have changed through time.

The guard opens the curtain for us. And there, the ceiling looks like the ancient night sky, clear and almost transparent, mirroring the galaxy for us to marvel on. I see all the planets arranged in a manner I do not get. But at that time, it didn’t even matter. The kid in me is enjoying the view.

On my left are projected images of the galaxy. People take turns just to get a photo with it. A few trivias about the space are randomly posted on the opposite side of the wall.

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The next make-shift rooms house constellations and materials used for astronomy by primitive people. There’s also a dome of some sort inside where they conduct shows but is off-limits to photo-taking.

Amongst all the museums, National Planetarium is the only one that is a bit underwhelming. And much as I would like to “love” National Planetarium, I think it needs a bit more time to develop. The other museums that surround it have evolved through the years. I hope National Planetarium does it, as well. Make it more interactive or something. For me, they should own the whole universe!

But I’m still urging you to visit it. Let’s support it like how we do with the other museums.