A live real-time experience
In the Champs Libres section of the Science Centre, the dome of the Rennes planetarium is the link between Earth and the sky and takes visitors on an immersive journey. It’s an authentic scientific and astronomic experience that impressed renowned astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, who visited in 2014. “I have seen a lot of planetariums in Europe and America, but this is the best planetarium show that I have had the opportunity to see”
All year round, numerous shows are put on for visitors and they are different every time. “The shows are live and in real time and the presenters adapt to audience questions always with strict scientific accuracy” explains Priscilla Abraham, one of the planetarium managers.
Shows for all ages
Between “The Sky Tonight”, the show that is the most connected to the current astronomy, and shows on the moon, the constellations, the Hubble Telescope, the galaxies, infinity, the planets, the stars, a lot of the subject is covered. “We even have a show aimed at 2-5 year olds called “Le petit spationaute” (The little astronaut), which makes it possible to explain without the children being afraid of how we artificially create the night inside the planetarium” explains Bruno Mauguin, one of the planetarium managers. “The youngest have all already heard of the astronaut Thomas Pesquet but ask lots of questions about space. The planetarium is there to teach them to find answers”. They do this from a scientific point of view, of course, but also with a poetic touch that is the hallmark of the Rennes Planetarium. 3D shows using special glasses are also scheduled regularly but there isn’t much trickery required for these shows. Leave with stars in your eyes!
3D technology and a team at the forefront
Priscilla Abraham and Bruno Mauguin, the two managers of the planetarium, are supported by a team of four presenters who manually operate the astronomic simulator. With just a smile, they explore the farthest reaches of the universe, passing by Saturn’s orbit and the most distant galaxies.
A 14-metre wide semi-circular screen
Behind the scenes, there is a large machine that makes it possible to navigate through the universe in real time and in 3D. In the hall, which seats an audience of 95, two made-to-measure projectors cast a 3D model of the cosmos on a 14-metre wide semi-circular screen. Once comfortably seated facing the sky, you will feel weightless, especially once the show launches us onto the International Space Station!
Around 30 computers record continuously so as to accurately represent the universe in 3D. This is a journey not only into space, but also in time, as the regularly updated map allows you to go back in time 1 million years and project 1 million years into the future.
Planning your visit to the planetarium
To make the most of your visit, it is best to book the show in advance. Each show lasts one hour, excluding 20 minutes of boarding. This is time for your eyes to adjust to the dark so that you will have a good view of the stars. The journey starts by entering the area of the Galileo navigation system, where various explanations and immersive presentations await before take-off. After the show, add on a good 10 minutes for landing. Have fun discovering!
Prices, hours and practical information
The Rennes Planetarium is located in the Science Centre (l’Espace des Sciences) of the Champs Libres centre on 10 cours des Alliés, just a few minutes’ walk away from the high-speed train station, a metro station (Charles de Gaulle station) and just to the side of the l’Esplanade Charles de Gaulle, underneath which is a large parking area.
- During school term: open Tuesday to Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m..
- During school holidays: open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m..
- Summer holidays: open Tuesday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m..
- The planetarium is closed on Mondays and all bank holidays
- To book your tickets in advance, go to the ticket office at the Champs Libres centre
- Prices: entry to the Planetarium is from €4 (reduced price) and €6 (normal price), special shows “Le petit spationaute” (The Little Astronaut) cost €4 and the “l’Univers en relief” (the Universe in 3D) costs €6. Combined entry allows visits to the Science Centre (l’Espace des Sciences) and Laboratoire de Merlin (Merlin’s Lab) exhibitions with cartoons and science experiments aimed at children. (find more on prices on the l’Espace des Sciences website).
- Accessibility: children younger than 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult; the planetarium is accessible for those with reduced mobility.