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  • Planetarium Overview

    The Howard B. Owens Science Center Planetarium



    Behold the beauty of the stars under the largest planetarium dome in the State of Maryland! Our Minolta Viewlex Series IV star projector realistically displays the night sky and accurately models the observable motions of the Sun, moon, planets, and stars over time! Over 8,000 stars can be projected on the dome from the Northern to Southern skies, any date, any time of day, all from the comfort of our 170 reclining upholstered seats. Constellation patterns can be studied at leisure, or quickly moved from season to season.

       For over 35 years our planetarium has been one of the outstanding features of the Howard B. Owens Science Center operated by Prince Georges' County Public Schools and has served thousands of students per year from Pre-K through college.  Our programs range from identifying simple shapes in the sky to determining the angles between the Sun and the Moon for the various moon phases. Our Pre-K through 12 programs highlight specific astronomy objectives from the science standards which are best taught in the unique environment of a planetarium. Although our first priority is to serve students attending Prince Georges's County Public Schools we also are able to accommodate home school groups and private schools.  College students from the University of Maryland College Park and Howard Community College regular visit our planetarium in the evening to enhance their astronomy/earth science lessons.

    Friday Planetarium Nights  

    The public is able to enjoy the wonders of the planetarium through a variety of programs offered on the second Friday of every month from September through May. We also offer mini-programs under the stars at every Science Center Family Night event, including special programs and guest speakers.

      family science
          P3.1   Would you like to quench your thirst for more in-depth astronomy?  Then try visiting Planetarium Patty's Plaza (P3), a few special planetarium nights designed to take  you deeper into specific astronomical topics of interest.  These nights are geared towards anyone with an interest in astronomy, structured as a lecture/Q&A session with some bonus night sky features.  
     Concert Under the Stars   The Howard B. Owens Science Center Planetarium Celebrates the Arts: Concerts under the Stars

    The planetarium is a wonderful place where science and arts meet up in a magnificent display of what STEAM is all about. Each year, HBOSC hosted concerts under the planetarium dome, accompanied with dazzling full dome visuals and the beauty of the starfield.  Past participants include the College Park Chamber Singers and Thomas Johnson Middle School Symphonic Band & Orchestra.

       concert under the stars may 2017

     We are proud Education/Public Outreach partners with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in developing a planetarium program highlighting the New Horizons mission to Pluto/Kuiper Belt. This program will be distributed to planetariums nation-wide.  We have also worked with the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Astronomical Society of Greenbelt in presenting different programs. 

    We are an active member and able to support the regional planetarium organization, the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society (MAPS).  In May 2009, our staff hosted the MAPS annual conference, enabling our regional planetarium colleagues a chance to share their work and providing them an opportunity to be exposed to the latest technologies presented by various vendors.  We also worked with Goddard in this venture, allowing participants an in-depth tour of their facilities! (Group Photo pdf. )

     For the pure wonder of the night sky, come visit us soon!