World’s Largest Astronomy Museum
This Monday, the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum unveiled its astronomy branch to the public- believed to be World’s largest Astronomy Museum. It is equipped with an observatory, a planetarium, plenty of space for exhibitions, and a 78-foot (24-meter) solar telescope and is housed in 420,000 square feet (390,000 square metres) of space.
The museum is not only the world’s largest, but it is also unlike any other. To begin with, there are no straight lines or sharp edges whatsoever on the site. The Astronomy Museum has always strived to demonstrate its scale and ambition, which is in many respects symbolic of the country’s objectives. In 2014, the museum sought concepts from designers and architects all across the world, eventually choosing Ennead Architects from the United States for their ground-breaking design.
The project’s chief designer, Thomas Wong, remarked, “The Astronomy Museum is designed to be this personification of… astronomically inspired architecture.” The design, according to the designers, is a celebration of the time and space continuum, offering a link between the country’s rich history and its scientific objectives.
An oculus, an inverted dome, and a sphere are the three main features of the building, which reflect orbital motion while simultaneously functioning as instruments for astronomical observations inside the museum.
The Oculus is suspended above the Astronomy Museum’s main entrance, allowing light to fall on the center square. This acts as a sundial, informing visitors of the time of day. Astronomy aficionados could potentially use the sunlight patterns to predict the season and solstice.
The Sphere, a representation of celestial bodies in space, is suspended from the ceiling with minimal support, implying weightlessness. The lower half of the sphere, which also contains the museum’s planetarium, is open to visitors.
True Experience of Night Sky
The inverted dome is a gigantic glass structure that provides guests with a panoramic view of the sky while carefully concealing the Shanghai cityscape. After spending time within the museum looking at exhibits and simulated displays, visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the true experience of viewing the night sky via the dome.
The world’s largest museum has only one goal: to go beyond simply communicating scientific information. “We want people to realize the unique nature of the Earth as a location that nurtures life, unlike any other place in the universe,” Wong told CNN.