Gazing at the stars

CAUGHT ON PAPER: A graphic illustration of the sun is displayed in Sirindhorn Astropark's planetarium.

The Princess Sirindhorn Astropark in Chiang Mai's Mae Rim district is now open to visitors and offers a view into cutting-edge technology and innovations based on astronomy and astrophysics.

The 54-rai (8.64-hectare) astropark is also where the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Narit) is headquartered.

The Astropark serves as a centre of education in the science of astronomy, development of astronomy-related technology and communication.

The park includes a digital planetarium system, 19-zone interactive exhibitions on the stars, an optics laboratory and instrumentation development laboratory.

The complex also boasts a museum, an observatory, convention centre and amphitheatre, while special star-gazing events are regularly held for the public.

Officials say the aim of the park is to boost academic studies as well as provide lessons so visitors can be motivated into learning about astronomy and its science.

It is hoped that the centre will put Chiang Mai on the map in this field and help Thailand get to the frontier of astronomy and astrophysics in Southeast Asia.

left  TOWERING HIGH: This observatory is a part of Princess Sirindhorn Astropark, located in tambon Don Kaeo of Chiang Mai's Mae Rim district.

above POSING FOR A PIC: An astronaut's suit stands ready for visitors to take selfies with.

SHAPE OF STARS: A display illustrating constellations.

LEARNING FIRST-HAND: The Astropark director explains a visual study to a group of visiting journalists.