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Physics and Astronomy WSU Planetarium

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)wsu.edu to arrange.

2021 Summer/Fall
$5 public shows


Hygiene rules: limited seating capacity, masks please. 

Sep 3/5 No shows (Labor Day)

Sep 10/12. Kids: Mole – What is out there? Main: Musica

Sep 17/19. Kids: Cocomong. Main: Earthquake!

Sep 24/26. Kids: Big Bird. Main: The Stargazer

Oct 1/3: Kids: Larry Cat. Main: Life

Oct 8/10: Kids: Sky Quest. Main: Expedition Reef

Aug/Sep shows.

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Until further notice, we request that attendees wear a mask. We will be limiting seating to a fraction of capacity, and will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

Molecularium and Moons: Worlds of Mystery

 

Friday, Aug 27.  5:30 p.m. Molecularium + 6:15 p.m. overflow show.  7:00 p.m. Moons: Worlds of Mystery. 7:50 p.m. overflow show

Sunday, Aug 29.  3:30 p.m. Molecularium + 4:15 p.m. overflow show.  5:00 p.m. Moons: Worlds of Mystery. 5:50 p.m. overflow show

 

Molecularium: A magical musical adventure into the world of molecules

Everything is made of atoms.

Moons: Worlds of Mystery

Take a fascinating trip to the little worlds of our solar system – its many moons. (35 min)

Moles: What is Out There? and Musica

 

Friday, Sep 10.  5:30 p.m. Mole + 6:15 p.m. overflow show.  7:00 p.m. Musica. 7:50 p.m. overflow show

Sunday, Sep 12.  3:30 p.m. Mole + 4:15 p.m. overflow show.  5:00 p.m. Musica. 5:50 p.m. overflow show

 

Moles: What is Out There?

A mole’s eye view of astronomy. You have never seen a cuter mole.

Musica: A View of the Universe through Music and Mathematics.

The show begins with a young woman, mesmerized by the beauty of nature, who asks, “Why do I sense beauty?” Her question sets in motion a series of scenes that take audiences on a voyage of discovery—from the DNA in our cells, to the spiral designs hidden in a sunflower and the ominous beauty of a typhoon, to the spiral grandeur of galaxies.

Her guide to the cosmos is a quiet pianist who introduces himself as “Musica” and uses sound and the concepts of harmony and harmonics to show her how math and physics unite music and nature. Thus begins a timeless conversation. Every question she asks allows Musica to show the physics and math equations behind something as simple as the placement of leaves on a sunflower stalk to the arrangement of stars in a galaxy. The more she asks, the more Musica can tell her about the cosmos, until she asks a question that surprises even him.

“Musica? Why is the universe beautiful?”

Created by Hiromitsu Kohsaka, producer of the highly acclaimed fulldome show Hayabusa: Back to the Earth. (26 min.,  plus a short)

September shows

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Until further notice, we request that attendees wear a mask. We will be limiting seating to a fraction of capacity, and will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

Cocomong and Earthquake

Friday, Sep 17,  5:30 p.m. Cocomong + 6:15 p.m. overflow show.  7:00 p.m. Earthquake. 7:50 p.m. overflow show

Sunday, Sep 19,  3:30 p.m. Cocomong + 4:15 p.m. overflow show.  5:00 p.m. Earthquake. 5:50 p.m. overflow show

 

Cocomong: A space adventure.

The playful prankster and his friends travel through space to save an alien from Virus King!

Plus: “Neurodome” – a mind-expanding short.

 

Earthquake: Evidence of a restless planet.

Prepare to be moved!

Take a breathtaking tour of our ever-active planet. Fly to sites of historic earthquakes and envision a future made safer from seismic events. (23 min). From the California Academy of Sciences. Narrated by Benjamin Bratt.

Plus: “Neurodome” – a mind-expanding short.

Big Bird’s Adventure and The Stargazer

Friday, Sep 24,  5:30 p.m. Big Bird + 6:15 p.m. overflow show.  7:00 p.m. Stargazer. 7:50 p.m. overflow show

Sunday, Sep 26,  3:30 p.m. Big Bird + 4:15 p.m. overflow show.  5:00 p.m. Stargazer. 5:50 p.m. overflow show

 

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure

From China to America, Sesame Street’s Big Bird, Elmo and their friend from China, Hu Hu Zhu, explore the night sky.

(27 min) From Adler Planetarium

The Stargazer

Come along on a journey to the stars with University of Illinois Astronomer James B. Kaler. Nichelle Nichols (from the original “Star Trek”) and Dr. Kaler narrate this personal look at gravity, light, and the spectrum and how they help us decipher the lifestyles of the stars.

(35 min.) From Great Lakes Planetarium Association

 

October 2021 shows

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Until further notice, we request that attendees wear a mask. We will be limiting seating to a fraction of capacity, and will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

Larry Cat in Space and Life: A Cosmic Story

 

Friday, Oct 1.  5:30 p.m. Larry Cat + 6:15 p.m. overflow show.  7:00 p.m. Life + 7:50 p.m. overflow show

Sunday, Oct 3.  3:30 p.m. Larry Cat + 4:15 p.m. overflow show.  5:00 p.m. Life + 5:50 p.m. overflow show

Larry Cat in Space.

Larry stows away in his owner’s suitcase. Little does he know that his owner is on her way to the moon!

Life: A Cosmic Story.

The 14-billion-year saga of how we came to be. It’s a journey from the microscopic view inside a plant cell to the vastness of our universe populated by billions of galaxies swirling in space. Narrated by Jodi Foster.

Sky Quest and Destination Solar System

 

Friday, Oct 8.  5:30 p.m. Sky Quest + 6:15 p.m. overflow show.  7:00 p.m. Expedition Reef. 7:50 p.m. overflow show

Sunday, Oct 10.  3:30 p.m. Sky Quest+ 4:15 p.m. overflow show.  5:00 p.m. Expedition Reef. 5:50 p.m. overflow show

Sky Quest.

Come along with a young woman on her personal quest to find a special place in the night sky. Narrated by Roxann Dawson, Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres of TV’s Star Trek: Voyager.

Expedition Reef.

Hope for reefs in a changing world.

Learn the secrets of the “rainforests of the sea” as we embark on an oceanic safari to the world’s most vibrant — and endangered — marine ecosystems. Narrated by Lea Salonga.

Upcoming, but not yet scheduled:

Distant Worlds – Alien Life?

to be scheduled.

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

to be scheduled.

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

Directions from Stadium & Main: Turn up Stadium, immediate left at Nevada, immediate left at Washington, turn right on Spokane Street. Street spots and nearby parking lots are legal to park in after-hours. Otherwise, please arrange a temporary permit from parking.wsu.edu (the zone you want is called “green 3.”) 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.

from_StadiumMain

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)