Planetariums are wonderful places to experience space while staying here on Earth. For those who have never been able to see the full beauty of the stars (thanks a lot, light pollution) it can be simply mesmerizing. Several planetariums dot the country, but a few stand out from the rest. These are the top 5 planetariums in the US:
1. Hayden Planetarium
Perhaps the most famous planetarium on this list, the Hayden Planetarium is located in New York at the American Museum of Natural History. Its director is Neil Degrasse Tyson, noted astrophysicist and host of Cosmos. The museum itself is well worth visiting, but definitely make it to a show at the planetarium if you can.
2. Morrison Planetarium
The Morrison Planetarium boasts a 75 foot dome, making it the largest all-digital planetarium in the world. It’s located in San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences. While the dome is huge, it’s also accurate since it’s tilted by about 30 degrees, just like Earth’s axis, and every single star the planetarium shows represents a star in the night sky.
3. Burke Baker Planetarium
If you want to visit the same place where NASA trains space shuttle astronauts, Burke Baker Planetarium is the place to go. Located in Houston at the Museum of Natural Science, the planetarium is home to the world’s most advanced simulator (SkyScan DigitalSky).
4. Albert Einstein Planetarium
If you’re looking for a planetarium with even more to offer, the Albert Einstein Planetarium delivers. It’s part of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which is one of the world’s most well-known and respected museums. The planetarium itself uses top of the line technology, and the rest of the museum offers flight simulators, hands-on activities, and even an observatory.
5. Samuel Oschin Planetarium
Like the Morrison Planetarium, the Samuel Oschin has a 75 foot dome. It’s in Los Angeles at the Griffith Observatory and utilizes a Zeiss star projector. Shows are also presented by a live storyteller, making for a unique and engaging experience.