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International Day of Planetariums
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The second Sunday in March:
Let's celebrate planetariums around the world!

Next IDP: 7 or 8 March 2020

 2018 IDP Celebration in China  2018 IDP Celebration in Costa Rica 2018 IDP Celebration in Scotland  2018 IDP Celebration in Japan 


International Day of Planetariums logo


It is that time again! Time to open your domes to your community and to the world.

Join us in celebrating the International Day of Planetariums on 7 or 8 March, 2020.


The goal of IDP is to involve the international planetarium community in a collaboration that promotes knowledge of planetariums to the public.

All planetariums, regardless of size, location, or affiliation, are invited to take part. Facilities that charge an admission are urged to make the day a free day for their communities.

Why are planetariums important? In today’s light-polluted world, many people have lost touch with the stars. Only a few can be seen over large cities, and even in some rural areas light encroachment hides the stars ofthe Milky Way. Planetariums were developed to “capture the stars” and bring them to Earth so that everyone could enjoy and learn about them.

According to the latest unofficial figures, each year 152,297,583 people visit planetariums in the world. (Ref: Loch Ness Productions,

The goal of IDP is to increase that number by informing as many people as possible that planetariums exist and that learning about the stars, space exploration, and astronomy is an enjoyable life-long activity.

Goals of the International Day of Planetariums:

  1. to inform the public about planetariums: what they are and why they exist;
  2. to educate the public about the problem of light pollution; and
  3. to promote international exchanges and collaborations between planetariums of different countries.

Goal 1: Inform

The first goal is easy to meet simply by holding the IDP event. To help with publicity, see a sample media release. Please contact us if you would like a larger version of the logo.

Goal 2: Light Pollution

Suggestions for meeting goal 2, the problem of light pollution, include

  • obtaining public outreach literature from the International Dark Sky Association;
  • obtaining the program Losing the Dark (in fulldome or flatscreen), which can be downloaded from the IDS site at;
  • collaborating with a nearby dark sky reserve or sanctuary;
  • collaborating with a local amateur astronomical society; and
  • you will think of more

Goal 3: International Partnership

Just as every nation is joined under the vault of the stars overhead, planetariums are joined in spirit and purpose under one dome.

To celebrate this fact, planetariums taking part are encouraged to partner with another facility elsewhere in the world. For example, a planetarium from an Italian city can work with a planetarium in a city from Africa, another country in Europe, Asia, or the USA. 

The partnership can be as simple as

  • sharing photos of the planetarium and surrounding community;
  • using clips from the Voices from the Dome project;
  • producing a program from the Pages of Stars contest; or
  • downloading and presenting Losing the Dark in the language of the partner planetarium.

Additional ideas:

  • Planetariums that serve immigrant and other under-represented populations may select a partner planetarium that reflects the makeup of their community. A planetarium in Texas or any of the US states that border Mexico might plan a “hands across the border” IDP event with a planetarium in Mexico, for example.
  • If possible, have local high school or college students write letters in a language they are studying and exchange them with students in the applicable country; perhaps they could write about a constellation story or myth.
  • For younger students, partner planetariums could match classrooms and have the students draw and exchange pictures of something in the sky, complete with labels or descriptions in their native languages.

Best Practices:

The Astronomical Center Rijeka Planetarium in Croatia has shared their Day of Planetariums documents as examples to help others prepare their events. We present them here as illustration of best practices.

The center opened in 2009, and began hosting the Day of Planetaria in 2010. In addition, the planetarium has been extremely active in public outreach:

  • In 2010, it introduced a Dark Sky Week to educate the public about light pollution;
  • It has joined the Festival of Science and World Space Week to promote the "ideal astronomical classrooms” – planetariums and observatories among large public and science community, highlighting the important work of the IPS.


Day of Planetria 2020 schedule (pdf)

Let's do this together!

For more information and/or to volunteer as a partner planetarium, contact any of the IPS Affiliate Representatives or

Loris Ramponi

Susan Reynolds Button

Sharon Shanks

Marco Avalos Dittel

You can also find us on Facebook Facebook logo

About IDP

The International Day of Planetaria was born in Italy in 1991. Conceived by the Associazione Amici dei Planetari, it became truly an international day in 1995, when other planetariums in Europe joined in the celebration. Today it also is celebrated in the United States, Australia, and Asia, and hopes are that it will continue to grow and encompass the globe.  Many locations use this day as a kick off event or the culminating day of a week of special programming and activities for the public.

Originally scheduled for the Sunday before the spring equinox, the date later was set as the second Sunday in March to allow planetariums to more easily schedule in advance. The Saturday day was added to allow planetariums that are not open on Sundays to take part.

Note: Either “planetariums” or “planetaria” is an acceptable plural for more than one planetarium. It is style, however, to use the plural “planetariums” in the IPS journal Planetarian.


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