A great experience at Espacio 0.42

Dec 22, 2013

Everyone loves a fieldtrip, even master student´s. This time we all went on an excursion with our professor to the observatory in Walka, called Espacio 0.42. Here we observed, first hand, some of the same tours that children usually receive at the center. We were brought into the large entrance that was dominated by a replica of the earth with the orbiting moon in the middle of the foyer.

The introduction of the tour guided us with thought provoking questions about the actual size of the earth, the moon and the stars. We were astonished to find the distance scale between the earth and the moon using a relatively simple comparison to the earth that was presented before us.
What was to happen next took us all by surprise. We were led to a descending ramp that surrounded the globe.  At the end of the ramp there was a door that connected to the globe. To our astonishment, the model earth also served as a theater to watch the stars. Inside we enjoyed a video and explanation about the visible stars and then we were introduced to another video explaining all about our solar system. We observed that language was a bit technical for young children. Nevertheless they would enjoy the images and capture some of the important details.
We then continued onto a simulator. This simulator, created exclusively for this museum had a 3D image that offered an exciting experience leaving Huesca and escaping to the outer reaches of space. This, we all concluded, was something that anyone can enjoy.
After that we were ushered off to see the telescopes available. We were explained that these telescopes were meant to be used on clear days and were used to look at the sun without causing eye damage. Unfortunately for us the weather did not permit us to see the sun through the telescope. Even so, our guide was happy enough to explain to us how these telescopes could be used to teach children how to observe.
Then we moved on to a small room with many chairs. We were explained that this room is normally used for children to work on projects based on the observation of the sun or a planet that they are working on at school or when it is too cloudy to see the sun through the telescope. Inside we were given a mini lesson as to how they teach children to observe the different aspects of the surface of the sun, as well as some scientific anecdotes.
Even though this was a great experience and the building structure impressive, there could be some aspects that could be improved upon.  One key issue was its location. This planetarium is completely separated from the population of Huesca in an industrial park hidden in a corner.  For being so remote there is little publicity. Until this visit, I was unaware that there was a planetarium in Huesca at all.
The last criticism is that there is only a singular route that the visitor can take. They must be accompanied by a guide and there is no liberty to choose the route that the visitor can take.
However, all in all this was a wonderful experience. I believe that this project is of great value for young children.
*Nicole Jeannette Mayes (California), Graduada en Historia por la Universidad de Navarra. Estudiante del Máster en Museos: Educación y Comunicación.