P l a n e t a r i u m  with astronomical observatory
   Smolyan, Bulgariya


swirlOn September 6th 1975, the biggest Planetarium with public observatory in Bulgaria opened its doors in the town of Smolyan. Smolyan is a tourist center in the West Rhodopes lying 800 m above sea level, near the famous Bulgarian winter resort of Pamporovo. The Planetarium is the town's most frequently visited place of interest. For the past 30 years it has been visited by 2,200,000 people. The planetarium and observatory complex works with no day off and has a staff of 10 people.

Popularizational activity

In order to popularize astronomical knowledge the Planetarium offers more than 50 lecture shows in the Star Hall. Some popular tales are made into childrenís shows while for the general public there are topical astronomical and special shows. Some of the general shows have been translated for foreigners. For the last few years the public has been particularly interested in the so called "special" programs - musical and poetical shows.

Educational activity

The Planetarium works with students from all forms of the Bulgarian school, as well as with preschool children. A lot of educational lectures related to the school studies in Astronomy, Physics, Geography are worked up and delivered here. There are also groups of students fond of astronomy called "StudentsíCreative Groups", permanently participating in the planetarium activities. These students are organized in a Youthís Astronomical Club. Three camp-schools are organized for these students in summer in the Planetarium and in the region of the National Astronomical Observatory, Rozhen. The students from Youth Astronomical Club observe and make photos of astronomical events such as solar activities, passages, conjunctions, moon and solar eclipses, meteors, etc.

The Planetarium also works with the Physics and Geography students and with teachers from the region. Lots of studentsí check-up tests and methodology materials are worked out for them and training seminars are organized.

Research activity

The research activity is in accordance with the technical means. A Sunís patrol has been acting here for more than 20 years now. It makes visual drawings and takes pictures of the spots making activity of the Sunís photosphere each sunny day.

Since 1990 there has been established a collaboration with Sunspot Index Data Center in Brussels. We send there our monthly observations of sunspots.

The Planetarium works actively on the visual and photographic recording of all solar and lunar eclipses and other astronomical phenomena observed in Bulgaria (see our GALLERY). Since 1975 in the Planetarium there has been documented 7 solar and 15 moon eclipses. Some of the photographs are unique in Bulgaria.

A considerable number of archival materials have been gathered. The Planetarium specialists examine also the astrnomical knowledge kept by the old people in the Rhodopes region. During its existence of thirty years the Smolyan Planetarium has set up its own specific style of working and has won recognition both in our country and abroad.


© Planetarium 1999-2009