Planetarium Jakarta: Old-school Stargazing And Skywatching

Planetarium Jakarta: Old-school Stargazing And Skywatching

Having finished visiting the Museum Taman Prasasti in Central Jakarta, we went to Taman Ismail Marzuki to see if we could get tickets for the Planetarium Jakarta.

The Planetarium Jakarta is an old attraction in Jakarta, it opened in 1969, and it is still going strong. Everything about it, from the building, the telescope and machine, to the show itself, feels old-school. Tickets are sold on a first-come first-served basis and it can get crowded in the weekends. So, come early before a show and just wait in line. When we arrived the seats were all sold out, but they do allow people to sit on the floor at the same price, and since we didn’t want to wait for the next show we just did that.

After finding a comfortable place on the floor and after everyone got in, the doors were closed and the lights went out. An MC narrates the show live in Indonesian, combining facts and some jokes throughout. It’s quite fun and a joke about the traffic jam in Bekasi and travelling to the planets in our solar system drew plenty of laughs. I was surprised to hear the epic music from The Lord of the Rings accompanying the space images between the talks of the MC. Not sure about the copyright issues, but it worked well. The show and night sky images are limited to our solar system, explaining different fun facts and distances to the planets, and where we can find the various zodiac signs in the night sky.

Now, the Planetarium Jakarta is a family-friendly attraction and quite modestly priced so you can expect big crowds. I was prepared for that and the many kids running and screaming around. What did bother me though was that some adults were trying to take photos with a flash during the show. What the hell. The room is pitch-black and the stars are projected onto a round dome, you can’t take a photo of that. Other people were using the light on their mobile phones to look at the stars, thus making sure other people can’t see anything. Despite numerous efforts by employees to tell people to not use their phones, nobody was listening. Luckily, after a while people kind of got the idea mobile phone lights were not working and stopped for the most part.

All in all, the Planetarium Jakarta is a pretty fun experience. Your enjoyment will depend on the crowds that will be with you in the room. Perhaps a visit during the less-crowded weekdays would be the best way to go about experiencing the Planetarium.

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