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Physics and Astronomy WSU Planetarium


WSU Planetarium

The WSU Planetarium features a digital fulldome projection system. During a sky tour, audiences interact with the projected sky and the docent to learn about astronomy. The dome is a 24 foot diameter plastic-laminated glass-fiber dome installed in Sloan Hall in March, 1962. In 1968 the projector was upgraded to the Spitz A3-P. In 2014, an interim spheric mirror digital projection system was added, upgraded to 4k resolution in summer 2016. It is used for WSU astronomy classes, school groups, other groups, and evening public shows. If you have a group of twelve or more, you can arrange a free, one-hour sky tour during business hours. Contact Dr. Guy Worthey at gworthey(at) to arrange.

2019 Fall
$5 public shows

Nov 15/16 – 6 shows – Dad’s Weekend Shorts

NEW! Nov 22 – CUWIP benefit: Physics Club Presents!

Dec 6/8 Distant Worlds – Alien Life?

Dec 13/15 Cassini’s Grand Finale

Fall 2019 Schedule

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Children 6 and under free. Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

Mercury Transit Preview

… and all about eclipses and occultations.

Friday, November 8, 7 p.m. and Sunday, November 10, 5 p.m.

On Monday morning, Nov 11, Mercury will pass between the sun and the earth. Weather permitting, Jewett Observatory will be open for the event. But, beforehand, this planetarium preview will describe what to expect and all the hows and whys. Please, never view the sun without appropriate eye protection.

We’ll help you sort out transits, eclipses, and occultations and review some of the past and future occurrences of these spectacular events.

Dad’s Weekend 30 minute shorts

Six shows!

Friday, November 15, 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m., and Saturday, November 16 at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m.

Dad’s weekend is busy, so we’re shortening our shows for power-packed potency. A selection of our most intriguing fulldome videos and our most compelling astronomical journeys in 30 minute bites.

  • Friday, Nov 15, 6 p.m. – X-rays Ahead: The Hot and Energetic Universe.
  • Friday, Nov 15, 7 p.m. – Two Small Pieces of Glass. NSF-funded production all about telescopes and telescopic discovery. And a bonus music video.
  • Friday, Nov 15, 8 p.m. – Seeing. A program about human vision, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson


  • Saturday, Nov 16, 11 a.m. – Out There. What’s out there, in the universe? How do we know?
  • Saturday, Nov 16, noon – Phantom of the Universe. The search for dark matter.
  • Saturday, Nov 16, 1 p.m. – Sunstruck! Our sun. And a bonus music video.

Physics Club Presents! A double-header movie to benefit CUWIP

CUWIP is the “Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics” to be held right here at WSU, Jan 17-19 2020. The more money we raise, the more female physicists we can sponsor. The WSU Planetarium and the WSU Physics & Astronomy Club join forces for:

Physics Club Presents!

Dark Matter and Einstein’s Gravity Playlist

Two double-header showtimes.

Friday, Nov 22. 6:00 p.m.

Friday, Nov 22, 7:00 p.m.

“Dark” — An Australian astrophysicist explores what fascinates him most, the unseen yet gravitationally dominant component of the universe that we call dark matter.

“Einstein’s Gravity Playlist” — A Montana State University graduate student explains gravity, leading up to gravitational waves and gravitational wave detectors like LIGO. It turns out the universe plays tunes, audible to humans with (a vast amount of) amplification. These tunes are “Einstein’s Gravity Playlist.”



Distant Worlds – Alien Life?

Friday, December 6, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 8, 5:00 p.m.

The possibility of life out there excites our imagination. Join us in experiencing an immersive fulldome movie produced by six German planetaria. It explores the current state of astrobiology and the conditions for life as we know it, then goes on to explore the solar system and selected exoplanetary systems around distant stars. It speculates on how aliens might be constructed to survive in environments very different from earth. It concludes with the possibilities for contact with Galactic civilizations other than our own, and what that might mean for society.

Cassini’s Grand Finale

Friday, December 13, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 15, 5:00 p.m.

Mighty, spectacular Saturn captures the imagination like no other planet. NASA’s Cassini mission exploded our knowledge of this enigmatic giant, its moons, and its amazing rings. Cassini’s piggyback probe Huygens parachuted to the large moon Titan and sent back images of this atmosphere-cloaked world. This planetarium presentation is an ode to the planet, and to the engineering marvels that allowed us a deeper glimpse of its wonders.


Directions from Stadium & Main: Turn up Stadium, immediate left at Nevada, immediate left at Washington, turn right on Spokane Street. (“Green” and “Yellow” spots are legal to park in after-hours. Otherwise, please arrange a temporary permit.) The pedestrian bridge is the most convenient entry; come across the bridge, come in the building, then turn right. Twenty paces later, turn left and head down the hall to Sloan 231.


We are gratified that our series of informative and entertaining shows for the general public, inaugurated in Spring, 2014, have proven very popular. In Summer, 2014, we installed a spheric-mirror digital projection system to operate alongside the legacy Spitz star ball to enable a whole new layer of flexibility in the star theater. A system upgrade quadrupled its resolution in 2016. Our dome was painted a friendly gray color in 2019 to reduce light echoes and improve contrast.

Funds from ticket sales maintain and improve our surround sound and full dome visual systems, and guarantee an offering of even more spectacular public events in the future. The WSU Foundation will be happy to assist you if you wish to accelerate the upgrades with a financial gift (donate to “astronomy development fund”).

Our offerings:

  • Day time groups ($0)
  • Evening public shows ($5)
  • Corporate facility rental (inquire, 335-4994)