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About the Planetarium

The O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium opened in 1979 through the philanthropy of Wayne and Grace Rollins. This unique space features a state-of-the-art GOTO Chronos Space Simulator star projector, a device that uses light guide technology to project a realistic and beautiful starry sky. With high-speed, computer-calculated positioning, a simple click of a mouse sets the sky for any time in the past, present or future. Installed at Young Harris in 2002, the projector was the first installation of the Chronos model anywhere in the world. A Sky-Skan Definiti full-dome digital projection system was added more recently. Representing the next generation in planetarium technology, the system creates an immersive and engaging image over the entire dome surface and a powerful experience for the audience.

With comfortable seating for 104 under a 40-foot-diameter dome, Rollins Planetarium offers public shows and educational opportunities for school groups throughout the year. Rollins Planetarium is located in the Maxwell Center on the campus of Young Harris College.

Rollins Planetarium is located in the Maxwell Center on the campus of Young Harris College.

Public shows at the Planetarium

O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium features shows for the general public on select Friday evenings. Tickets for shows can be purchased at the door with cash or check. Tickets can also be purchased online via Eventbrite by clicking on the show dates listed below. Purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended, since planetarium shows often sell out. Observatory open houses do not require tickets.

For planetarium shows, guests are encouraged to arrive early for best seats.
Public planetarium shows, with the exception of Cosmic Concerts, include a live-narrated “season stargazing” segment in addition to the featured full-dome program.

Public admission rates:

  • $5 adults per show
  • $3 children per show
  • Free for children under 4 years of age
  • Free with YHC ID

Tickets can be purchased online in advance by clicking on the show dates below. Any remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the door 30 minutes prior to showtime.

School groups shows

The following educational shows are available for schools or other groups. Please have available the requested time and date, the title of the show you would like to see and the approximate number attending. If you would like to see two shows while you are here, we are happy to set up a combo of your choice of show titles. A minimum of 15 people and a minimum payment of $75 is required to schedule a group show.

Important: It is highly recommended that you schedule school / group shows at least a month in advance, since demand is high and available dates are limited. For more information or to schedule a presentation, please email Planetarium Director Lauren Albin.

School group rates:

  • $75 flat fee for first show, regardless of group size
  • Additional shows for the same students are at regular public rates ($3 per student and $5 per adult)

Non-school group rates:

  • $3 per student and $5 per adult per show
  • $75 minimum charge in effect per show

Planetarium and Observatory schedule of events


Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity

Deep in the middle of our Milky Way galaxy lies an object made famous by science fiction—a supermassive black hole. Scientists have long speculated about the existence of black holes. German astronomer Karl Schwarzschild theorized that black holes form when massive stars collapse. The resulting gravity from this collapse would be so strong that the matter would become more and more dense. The gravity would eventually become so strong that nothing, not even radiation moving at the speed of light, could escape. Schwarzschild’s theories were predicted by Einstein and then borne out mathematically in 1939 by American astrophysicists Robert Oppenheimer and Hartland Snyder.

Led Zeppelin Cosmic Concert*

Back by popular demand, this full-dome video extravaganza is ready to rock Rollins Planetarium! This one-of-a-kind concert transports the audience into a series of fantastical and surrealistic settings, taking visitors on a captivating journey led by this legendary rock band. The motions are calculated to heighten the transportive feeling, drawing audiences deeper into the ever-changing landscape of sight and sound. The soundtrack includes Led Zeppelin classics such as “Kashmir,” “Black Dog,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Stairway to Heaven” and “Rock and Roll.”


Observatory open house

On these special evenings, the Young Harris College Observatory is open to the public for telescopic viewing, if skies are clear and weather permitting. The observatory features a 14-inch telescope and is located around 1.5 miles from campus at Twiggs Overlook on the exit road leading from Brasstown Valley Resort. Maps will be available at the planetarium as well as here. Observing sessions last up to one hour.

Please note: Limited parking; no shuttle service; no restroom facilities; uphill walk from parking area.

Observatory open house dates:

  • Thursday, May 9, 9 p.m.

About the Observatory

The Young Harris College Observatory features a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and is located about 1.5 miles from campus at Brasstown Valley Resort.

Located at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet on the flanks of Brasstown Bald, the tallest peak in Georgia, the College’s observatory features a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope housed in a 15-foot dome just a few minutes from campus. The observatory benefits from its high elevation and access to the wonderfully dark skies of northern Georgia. In addition to the main scope, the facility also contains outdoor telescope piers that can mount a number of other telescopes as well.

CCD camera images

The telescope can also be equipped with a CCD camera to take digital images. Below are two examples of pictures shot from the observatory using the main telescope coupled with a CCD camera. The first picture is M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy; the second one is the Moon.



Frequently asked questions about the Planetarium and Observatory

Planetarium and Observatory overview FAQs

Where is the planetarium located?

O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium is located in the Maxwell Center building on the YHC campus in Young Harris, Ga.

Driving directions: From US Highway 76/GA Highway 515, turn into the campus at the traffic light in Young Harris, then take a left at the end of the street. Rollins Planetarium is located in the second building on the left, the Maxwell Center.

Maxwell is building #1 on the campus map (PDF). Get directions and parking information to campus.

Where can planetarium visitors park?

Cars and other personal automobiles may be parked wherever vacant spaces are available in one of the parking lots behind Maxwell Center, the building in which O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium is located. Either the lot directly behind Maxwell Center or the lot along Maple Street may be used. If those lots are full, other options include designated visitor parking spaces on campus, such as those in front of Clegg Fine Arts Center and the gravel lot by the athletic fields (baseball parking). As a last resort, parking areas located just across U.S. Hwy. 76 may be used. If it is necessary to walk across the highway, please use the designated crosswalks with extreme caution.

Buses and other large-group transportation should unload and load at the front entrance of Maxwell Center, the building in which O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium is located. Parking options include the gravel lot by the athletic fields (baseball parking) or other parking areas located just across U.S. Hwy. 76.

As Young Harris College continues to grow, its parking policies must also be updated. These policies affect where individuals and groups visiting Rollins Planetarium may park their vehicles. Please feel free to check this website or contact the Rollins Planetarium at (706) 379-5130 prior to your visit to confirm parking options.

What are your general policies?

  • Food and drink are not permitted in the planetarium.
  • Once a show has started, if you leave the planetarium for any reason, re-entry is not allowed due to safety regulations in the darkened environment.
  • Please silence all electronic devices during the show, and make sure all display screens stay powered off. The light from the screen can ruin the dark sky effect for other visitors.

What is the seating capacity of the planetarium?

The planetarium has seating for 104 people.

NOTE: If your group is going to be larger than this, please let the Planetarium Director know immediately so that we can look at splitting your group for separate showings. Fire safety regulations prohibit us from adding folding chairs in the aisles or allowing extra people to stand or sit on the floor during a show.  With separate showings, half your group could play at the park down the street and/or eat their picnic lunches while the other half is seeing the planetarium show, then switch places. You can contact Planetarium Director Lauren Albin at (706) 379-5130.

How long does a show typically last?

A single show lasts approximately 45-60 minutes, which includes time for seating and a brief introduction at the beginning, plus a brief live-narrated look at the constellations at the end. Most programs may be shortened upon request. If you have scheduled a two-show combo for the same students, your total time in the planetarium will be approximately 1.5 hours, since the live-narrated part only has to be done once. Add a little extra time to that if you would like a restroom break between the two shows.

Is there an age limit for the planetarium?

We do not set an age limit for children to visit the planetarium. We rely on parents and teachers to use their discretion as to whether it will be suitable. If a child can be reasonably quiet for the 45-60 minute duration of most of our shows, then it is fine for them to attend.

Where do we enter and exit?

Buses should unload and load at the front entrance of the Maxwell Center building that houses the planetarium. Groups should enter the lobby area and wait quietly since college classes are often in session. Please note that we do not have a receptionist.

Where are the restrooms?

Restrooms are located in the lobby of the Maxwell Center building on either side of the front entrance doors. If needed, please make sure students have had an opportunity to use the restroom before your scheduled show time.

Where can we eat lunch?

Groups wishing to have a picnic lunch before or after their planetarium visit may wish to consider Mayor’s Park. This small park, operated by the city of Young Harris, is conveniently located just down Maple Street from the planetarium.  There is a small playground with swings, a covered gazebo, and several picnic tables. A variety of fast food restaurants are located nearby in either Blairsville or Hiawassee. Please note that we do not have inside lunch space at the planetarium.

If the weather is bad, most groups either eat lunch on their buses or go to a different park with covered picnic shelters. A couple of possibilities include:

  • Towns County Recreation Park on Lake Chatuge has a playground and covered picnic shelters, and is located in Hiawassee across from the Georgia Mountain Fairground, just a 10-minute drive from Young Harris on Hwy 76. For availability of the picnic shelters there, you can try calling 706-896-2276 or 706-896-2600.
  • Meeks Park in Blairsville has covered picnic shelters, trails, a playground, etc.  It’s about a 15-minute drive from Young Harris on Hwy 515. For reserving the picnic shelters, you can try contacting the Recreation Office at 706-439-6074.

Do you have an exhibit area?

No, we have a rather small lobby in a college academic building, so there is no room for exhibits. While we do have some beautiful astronomy photographs displayed in the planetarium, there are no large-scale exhibits like you might find at a museum or science center.

Do you have a gift shop?

There is no gift shop in the building where the planetarium is located. The campus bookstore is on the bottom floor of Sharp Hall.

Group tour FAQs

We would like to set up a field trip to the planetarium. What times do you offer group shows?

We schedule shows by request on weekday mornings, Monday through Friday. We also have some weekday afternoon slots during times when the planetarium is not used for college classes and labs. If no other group has scheduled for a particular date, you can select whatever time is most convenient for your group to arrive. If another group is already scheduled for that day, we will work with you to find the closest available slot. For example, if another group has already scheduled for 10 a.m. on the day you wish to visit, we could schedule your group for either 9 or 11 a.m. If you really prefer 10 a.m., we could simply look for another date. If you would like to see two shows while you are here, we are happy to set up a combo of your choice of show titles. For more information, please call Planetarium Director Lauren Albin at (706) 379-5130.

We want to visit the planetarium, but don’t know what is showing. Where is your list of show titles for group shows?

Since group shows are scheduled at your request, you have complete flexibility to choose any show in our library. View the listing of our available show titles, along with recommended age levels, trailers and educator guides.

What is the admission cost for group planetarium programs?

School group rates: $50 flat fee for the first show, which covers everyone in your group, including any adults. If seeing two shows for the same students, the fee for the second program is $3 per student and $5 per teacher or other adult.

NOTE: There is a $50 minimum charge in effect for the second show, meaning the fee cannot be less than $50, but it may be more than $50 depending on the number in the group.

Ms. Smith brings a school group consisting of 22 students and 4 adults, and they see two planetarium shows. The fees would be:

  • 1st show = $50 flat fee
  • 2nd show = (22 students x $3 each) + (4 adults x $5 each) = $66 + $20 = $86

TOTAL FEE = $50 + $86 = $136

Rates for non-school groups: $3 per child/student (age 5 & up) and $5 per adult per show. NOTE: There is a $50 minimum charge in effect for each show, meaning the fee cannot be less than $50, but it may be more than $50 depending on the number in the group.

Mr. Jones brings a community group consisting of 10 children and 12 adults, and they see one planetarium show. The fees would be:

  • TOTAL FEE = (10 children x $3 each) + (12 adults x $5 each) = $30 + $60 = $90

We are a small private school or community group and don’t quite have the 15 persons required to schedule a group show. Can we still make a reservation?

Yes, as long as you are willing to pay the $50 minimum charge per showing, regardless of how few people you actually have.

Do you ever schedule private events such as birthday parties or weddings in the planetarium?

No, the planetarium is located in an academic building with ongoing classes, labs and other college functions, and is not available for parties, weddings, and the like.

When is payment due for group programs?

Payment is due at the time of your visit by cash or check (one check for entire group) made out to YOUNG HARRIS COLLEGE. If paying by cash, the group leader should collect fees prior to arrival and be ready to present payment for the group. No debit/credit cards accepted.

A couple of weeks before your visit, we will send you an e-mail confirmation reminder that includes mention of the admission fee amount. When you make payment at the time of your visit, we are glad to write a receipt you can take back with you.

NOTE: If your school requires an actual billing invoice ahead of time, just let us know and we can generate one for you.

What if our group has to cancel or reschedule?

Contact Planetarium Director Lauren Albin at (706) 379-5130 as soon as possible, and we will work with you to reschedule your visit. In the event of inclement weather, the planetarium follows the lead of Young Harris College for delays and closings, which are posted on the College’s website at

What if our group is running late?

Contact the Planetarium Director. It may be necessary to shorten your program or rearrange the schedule.

Can parents accompany a school group in the planetarium?

Parents should check with their child’s teacher or group leader to make sure that parent chaperones are allowed on the trip (policies vary from school to school) and that enough extra seats are available in the planetarium (depends on the size of the group).

NOTE: For a two-show combo, parents need to pay $5 per person only for the second program since they are covered by the flat fee on the first program. It is fine if parents pay by cash. In other words, if you want to pay by check for the students and teachers, but have parents pay cash, that is fine. The only thing we ask is that the group leader collect the cash from the parents ahead of time and be ready to present payment for the entire group at the time of your visit. The reason we ask this is that it saves a lot of time in getting the show started. If we had to collect cash from each parent individually, then give back change, it could cause a delay.

How early should our group arrive?

We recommend arriving at least 10-15 minutes early to allow time for your group to use the restrooms before being seated in the planetarium theater. If the planetarium door is closed, another planetarium program or college class is probably in progress. Planetarium Director Lauren Albin will greet your group a few minutes before your scheduled show time.

Is the observatory open for group tours during the daytime?

No, our observatory is quite small, holding only a few people at a time, and is located off-campus about 1.5 miles from the planetarium. There is nothing to see there in the daytime.