by Liz Jones | June 11, 2018 2:00 pm
With an abundance of local options for planetarium visits and program offerings, studying the stars, planets, and the sky has never been more exciting!
Observatory Park at Turner Farm | Great Falls, VA
Permanently mounted telescopes allow for excellent sky gazing at the new Observatory Park at Turner Farm! This roll-top observatory includes an Observation Room complete with three telescopes, a retractable roof, and an Orientation Room for educational programs. For more information on future programs, visit Turner Farm or the Analemma Society.
The Observatory at George Mason University | Fairfax, VA
Astronomy enthusiasts will love when the Observatory presents Evenings Under the Stars, a free event series open to the community. Each evening features a 30-minute presentation by a prominent local scientist, who wants to share their current research in an accessible way. After a brief opportunity for questions, and if the weather allows, guests will be escorted up to the roof for a look through the Observatory’s primary telescope.
David M. Brown Planetarium | Arlington, VA
Run via Arlington Public Schools, The David M. Brown Planetarium provides a multitude of programs for public and school group viewing. During the school year, the planetarium shows programs for public viewing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For additional information, please visit the Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium.
Irene V. Hylton Planetarium | Woodbridge, VA
The planetarium at CD Hylton Senior High School, also known as the Skydome Planetarium, contains a star projector capable of projecting 1,354 stars, the five visible eye planets, moon phasing, daily and yearly motion, the celestial coordinates, and other reference lines on a thirty-foot curved dome. Special effect projectors create solar and lunar eclipses, aurora display, meteor and meteor showers. Check back often for updated events, as the shows are breathtaking, hypnotic, and worth the drive.
William M. Brish Planetarium | Hagerstown, MD
Operated by the Washington County Public Schools System, the William M. Brish Planetarium shows programs for public viewing twice each month. The earlier shows are geared towards younger elementary-aged audiences, but please visit their website to check out all of the programs offered.
Allan C. Davis Planetarium at the Maryland Science Center | Baltimore, MD
Enjoy a look at the stars and sky beneath the 50-foot dome of the Allan C. Davis Planetarium! Planetarium show pricing is included with the base admission to the center. Most Fridays, the public can enjoy free admission to The Observatory for evening stargazing through an Alvan Clark & Sons 8″ refracting telescope!
Arthur Storer Planetarium | Prince Frederick, MD
Visitors of all ages can visit this Planetarium located on Calvert High School’s grounds. During the school year, learn about the night sky during free informational and educational sessions.
Banneker Planetarium | Catonsville, MD
Although its usage has been primarily for college courses, the Banneker Planetarium also offers shows to the public and school groups throughout the year! The planetarium’s Saturday Shows and Star Parties are free and open to the public.
Howard B. Owens Science Center | Lanham, MD
Operated by the Prince George’s County Public School System, the largest planetarium in Maryland offers a variety of shows for public viewing throughout the year. Families will enjoy these Friday evening shows focused on a range of topics.
Ausherman Planetarium | Frederick, MD
Located at the Earth and Space Science Laboratory, the Ausherman Planetarium has a 35-foot dome built to amaze and educate stargazers young and old! Not only does this Chronos Hybrid planetarium system model the night sky, but it also displays 360-degree movies.
Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum | Washington, DC
Families can enjoy both pre-recorded and live presentations at the Albert Einstein Planetarium in DC! Shows are regularly scheduled throughout the day and week. Tickets are required for children ages 2 and up, however, please visit their website for additional information regarding pricing and free ticket availability for select shows.
Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory at the National Air and Space Museum | Washington, DC
Take the kiddos to the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory to do some daytime gazing! Open select weekdays, visitors can enjoy telescopic viewing alongside knowledgeable observatory staff. This public observatory also offers nighttime viewing a few times each month, weather permitting.
Rock Creek Park Nature Center & Planetarium | Washington, DC
There are plenty of free programs for children and adults at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, operated by the National Park Service. The Planetarium boasts weekly educational shows and opportunities for audiences of all ages, including Seasonal Night Sky, Exploring the Universe, and more. They use high-tech Spitz software to project the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling and experienced rangers lead you on a journey of exploration into our solar system, galaxy, and beyond!
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