'AstroPark' to open doors next month
Chiang Mai: The Princess Sirindhorn AstroPark, complete with cutting edge technology and innovations, will open its doors to the public on Feb 1.
The observatory's grand opening will be presided over by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, said Sarun Posayachinda, director of National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Narit), which oversees the park.
Covering 54 rai (8.64 hectares) in Chiang Mai's Mae Rim district, it cost 400 million baht to build the observatory, which is the largest in the country and will serve as Narit's headquarters.
The park includes an astronomy research and services centre, an optics laboratory, an instrumentation development laboratory and a 17-metre in diameter planetarium. The complex also includes a museum, an observatory, convention centre and amphitheatre.
"The aim is to turn the AstroPark into a centre for academic studies as well as a learning centre to help visitors enhance their knowledge of science, technology and innovations. The aim is to also help Thailand get to the frontiers of astronomy in Southeast Asia," Mr Sarun said.
According to Mr Sarun, the AstroPark will will be open to visitors from 9am to 4pm from Tuesday to Friday and from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The complex is expected to support more than 500 visitors daily, while entrance fees have been set at 30 baht for students and 50 baht for tourists.
Mr Sarun said AstroPark will work in cooperation with observatories across the world and will also connect directly with Narit's other observatories in different geographical zones of the country, namely Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Chachoengsao, Phitsanulok and Songkhla.