Definition of planetarium in US English:



  • 1A building in which images of stars, planets, and constellations are projected on the inner surface of a dome for public entertainment or education.

    • ‘A Zeiss projector that was centrepiece of the Star Theatre for the planetarium's 27-year lifespan was purchased by York University, which currently has it disassembled in storage.’
    • ‘Shows at the temporary planetarium will allow visitors to explore the planets and moons of the solar system, take a journey into ancient Egypt to see how science was used to create calendars, and look at the search for life in outer space.’
    • ‘The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is to be restored and opened to the public, with the addition of a new planetarium.’
    • ‘He announced to his wife that he was going to educate the public by building a planetarium in the back room of their house.’
    • ‘So, in the past eight years, under his direction, the Bangalore Association for Science Education at the planetarium has helped young students start out on scientific careers.’
    • ‘Not only will it offer both an earth science museum and a planetarium (the Barlow Planetarium), but it also provides visitors with an opportunity to view a portion of the Barlow collection.’
    • ‘Cosmonova, at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, is made up of an Omnitheatre with both a modern planetarium and a 70 mm-wide cinema.’
    • ‘When she got a few minutes away from planning the wedding, she was trying to set up the summer program for the planetarium.’
    • ‘I told them we trust the museum will open in the spring of 2007 and that we hope to open the planetarium, lobby, and café in the middle of this year.’
    • ‘Cosmic Microwave Background: The New Cosmology and other elements of the AstroBulletin are made available to museums, science centers, planetariums, and other public spaces nationwide and around the world.’
    • ‘Over 150 people, including school and college students, turned up at the planetarium on Thursday evening to view the celestial bodies.’
    • ‘Further applications include use in planetariums and other virtual reality scenarios in the field of entertainment.’
    • ‘The observatory will be open to the public for the first time and the galleries will be located in the Victorian South Building, home of the old planetarium.’
    • ‘Although not terribly well known, the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca has a working planetarium and offers public skywatching using telescopes sufficiently powerful to study Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury.’
    • ‘Within the scheme of science education, planetariums are considered an important tool for exciting youngsters and the general public about the wonders of the universe.’
    • ‘The QM2 boasts 24-hour casinos, the only planetarium at sea, and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, where you can unwind from the day with an assortment of pampering treatments.’
    • ‘Single fish-eye projectors that cover an entire dome now display digital skies in planetariums in many schools, science centers, and public libraries.’
    • ‘Marsapalooza is the product of a unique partnership funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, produced by Passport to Knowledge, and hosted by several museums, planetariums, science centers, and schools across the country.’
    • ‘Anyone taking a trip to the local planetarium would have heard that the planets have 60 or so moons orbiting them on neat, nearly circular paths.’
    • ‘Between the star parties, parks, and planetariums, Hawaii offers more publicly accessible world-class astronomy per square mile than anywhere else on Earth.’
    1. 1.1 A device used to project images of stars, planets, and constellations.
      • ‘An inflatable planetarium is introducing the wonders of the universe into the classroom.’
      • ‘A planetarium can do stars and project slides on the ceiling, maybe make a laser dance in one place, and that's about it.’
      • ‘While astronomers were radically expanding their view of the universe in the early part of the twentieth century, a new invention was also fueling a rising public enthusiasm: the planetarium.’
      • ‘The planetarium projects bright stars and constellations visible in the Southern Hemisphere on your walls and ceilings.’
  • 2

    another term for orrery
    • ‘He also included instructions on building a planetarium as well as its geometrical description.’
    • ‘He wrote Theorica Planetarum which describes the construction of a planetarium, the first to be described by a European.’


Mid 18th century: modern Latin, from Latin planetarius ‘relating to the planets’.