Nouveautés au Planétarium : quand l’univers est accessible du bout des doigts

The Saint-Félicien Planetarium takes visitors inside our solar system and more as if you were there thanks to its new acquisition of virtual reality headsets. As a bonus, a visit to the International Space Station with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jean.

This is one of the great novelties of the 2022 summer season. The new technological attraction, which has only been in operation since July 1, is already causing a stir among visitors.

“We recently conducted our first virtual headset tests with some of our members and trained three students and one adult who will be working in the planetarium this summer. We have eight Oculus Quest 2 glasses, allowing multiple people to experience the experience at the same time. It’s really interesting,” says Claude Boivin, director of the planetarium.

An investment of $16,000 was required to purchase equipment and train guides. The cost is shared between the Planetarium, Development Canada (DEC) and Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Claude Boivin states that the program allows you to have seven different experiences. There is, among others, a visit to the solar system aboard a spacecraft, a visit to the International Space Station with astronaut David Saint-Jacques, an experience aboard the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo mission, from launch to return to Earth, you can even walk on the moon with Neil Armstrong.

shallow breathing

“The response from visitors is very good. All people who are in their first experience are left breathless. They value their experience and in this virtual element it’s as if we were there,” testifies Claude Boivin.

Admission to the planetarium is $15. There is a $5 package for a 20-minute virtual helmet experience and $20 for a one-hour immersion.

You can also take part in defense game against alien attack with missiles, shields and all that stuff to save planet earth.

There is also the space roller coaster on board a rail vehicle and for the youngest there is an animated play journey to a planet where objects turn into chocolate.

According to Claude Boivin, the most spectacular is the ISS mission, where you can move yourself around the space station and even manipulate the Canadian arm.

“It takes at least an hour to see everything. It can be heart pounding and dizzy at first, but you gradually get used to it and then you fully appreciate it.”

This novelty will be added to the regular activities of the planetarium with the discovery room, the window on the 3D cosmos corridor, the northern lights room, the show under the dome (a different show every week), the observatory, etc.

Year after year, the planetarium is visited by more or less 4,000 people. With the news of the hour, that number could well rise even further.

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