Irene V. Hylton Planetarium Closing for Renovation

The Hylton Planetarium is the first of the many renovations coming to Hylton this year.


The Hylton Planetarium logo.

The lights, lasers, and projections of Prince William County’s only planetarium—the Irene V. Hylton Planetarium—are shutting off for renovation.

On March 16th, the planetarium is closing for what will be one of the many renovations coming to Hylton High School, and reopening the following school year. With over a million dollars in private donations, the planetarium will be re-modified in terms of its dome, seats, and projection.

“It’s going to get a total facelift,“ said planetarium director Anthony Kilgore.

When the planetarium opened in 1991 as a part of Hylton High School, it relied strictly on VHS and DVD laser capability. Then, in 2010 it went under an extensive renovation, giving it a Konica Minolta Media Globe 2 fish eye lens star projector along with an AVI Skylaser RBG laser projection system, bringing modernization to the space.

In this recent upgrade, the planetarium will receive 4k digital laser projection, which will be the first Konica Minolta system of its kind in the United States.

“We are very, very excited about some of the changes that are coming here,” said Kilgore.

When the planetarium does reopen after the renovation, it will continue to service and cater to the ninety-nine Prince William County Public schools as well as the public. It offers roughly eighty different shows, ranging in suitability from kindergarten audiences to graduate student audiences. For students, the planetarium serves as a purely education experience, allowing them to learn about planets, stars and astronomy in general. But for the public, the planetarium serves as a unique form of scientific entertainment, and when in season, festive shows such as Star of Bethlehem or The Alien Who Stole Christmas are offered.