The second largest planetarium in the world, M P Birla Planetarium is in the central part of Kolkata adjacent to the Victoria Memorial, St Paulís Cathedral, and the maidan. It started functioning from 1962 as an educational, scientific and research institution. The planetarium deals with many facets of astronomy, astro-physics, celestial mechanics, space science, and history of astronomy and mythology regarding stars and planets.
The planetarium is a spherical one-storeyed architectural marvel influenced by the Buddhist architectural remnants at Sanchi. It owns an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 telescope with accessories such as ST6 CCD camera, and solar filter. It has a capacity of 500 spectators.
M P Birla Planetarium offers a free evening course in astronomy, Post Graduate Diploma and M Phil (in collaboration with Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani) in Astronomy and Planetarium Sciences.
Daily programs (except Monday) are conducted in English, Bengali and Hindi from 12:00 to 19:00 hrs. Extra shows are arranged on holidays.