After five years in construction, the Shanghai Astronomy Museum will finally open its doors to the public on Monday, July 18, reports Shine. Covering 38,000 square meters, and able to host 6,000 visitors a day, it is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world.
From above, the museum resembles two connected planetary orbits, with a spherical theater sitting on one side and an inverted spherical dome on the other. The museum features a main building, a solar tower and a youth observation base and public observatory.
The steel structures are built in irregular shapes to create a futuristic vibe, and several breakthroughs were made, such as the 30-meter-diameter dome cinema ‘hanging in the air’ and 200-meter-long spiral staircase with few holds.
The main building consists of three structures for three celestial bodies: the Oculus, Inverted Dome and Sphere. Together they form a giant astronomical instrument that tracks time based on changes in light and shadow. It can also display China's solar terms, created by ancient Chinese based on the changes in the sun's position.
“It’s more than just a building,” explains Lin Qing, director of the museum’s astronomical research center. “It’s also an exquisite astronomical instrument and the biggest exhibit of the museum.”
Aimed at becoming a world-class planetarium, it offers unprecedented museum experiences, backed by cutting-edge interactive technologies and visualizations.
The exhibition is divided into three zones – Home, Cosmos and Odyssey – to lead visitors on a tour around the solar system, faraway galaxies and even black holes, and to understand the history of astronomy and inspire people to think about its future.
There are more than 300 exhibits, 85% of which are developed by the museum and over half are embedded with interactive functions.
Another highlight is the museum's collection of meteorites. They include the largest recovered piece of the Changxing Meteorite, which fell onto Shanghai's Changxing Island in 1964 and destroyed a farmhouse. It is the only meteorite seen falling in Shanghai.
Suffice to say we couldn't be more excited. Shanghai Astronomy Museum opens on Monday, July 18 and is located at 380 Lingang Avenue, near Dishui Lake Station on Metro Line 16.
[All images courtesy of Shine]