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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.

2022 Spring/Summer
$5 public shows


Current hygiene rules: seating capacity 45, masking not required. 

July 29 & 31: The Sky in 2-d and 3d

Aug 5 & 7: Solar System Sensation

Aug 12 & 14: Sunstruck

Aug 19 & 21: Drifters in the Dark

Aug 26 & 28: “Cycle” & “The Incredible Sun”

2022 Summer Kids Series

Each Saturday and Sunday, June to mid-August, we will present kid-friendly $5 shows at the planetarium. Kids under 8 will get the most from these shows.

1 p.m., Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays.

July 23 & 24: Sky Quest

July 30 & 31: One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure

Aug 6 & 7: Bella Gaia (Earth’s Beauty)

Aug 13 & 14: Oceans in Space

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)

 

July 2022 shows

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Masks are encouraged (it’s cozy in the planetarium) but not required. Seating is limited to 45, and we will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

The Sun: Our Living Star

Friday, July 1, 7 pm

&

Sunday, July 3, 5 pm

A guided tour of July night skies and the fulldome planetarium presentation “The Sun: Our Living Star.”

The Sun has shone on our world for four and a half billion years. The light that warms our skin today has been felt by every person who has ever lived.

It is our nearest star and our planet’s powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life.

The passage of the Sun’s fiery disc across the sky — day by day, month by month — was the only way to keep track of time for countless past civilizations.

Don’t be fooled by the terminology; although it is a typical dwarf star, the Sun consumes 600 million tons of hydrogen each second and is 500 times as massive as all the planets combined.

Discover the secrets of our star in this planetarium show and experience never-before-seen images of the Sun’s violent surface in immersive fulldome format.

The Phantom of the Universe

Friday, July 8, 7 pm

&

Sunday, July 10, 5 pm

A guided tour of July night skies and “The Phantom of the Universe,” a fulldome movie about dark matter.

From the journey of protons racing through the world’s largest particle collider in Europe to up-close views of the Big Bang and emergent cosmos, Phantom of the Universe is a new fulldome planetarium show designed to immerse audiences in the search for dark matter. A collaboration of Lawrence Berkeley National LabUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonMichigan State UniversityIFIC at University of Valencia, as well as other institutions. It is narrated by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

Magnificent Desolation

Friday, July 15, 7 pm

&

Sunday, July 17, 5 pm

A history and celebration of the Apollo program and the exploration of the moon.

The Hot and Energetic Universe

Friday, July 22, 7 pm

&

Sunday, July 24, 5 pm

A tour of July night skies, followed by the fulldome production “The Hot and Energetic Universe.”

High energy astrophysics plays a key role in understanding the universe. This radiation reveals powerful processes in a hot and violent universe. The fulldome film probes hot gas in clusters of galaxies, which are the most massive objects in the universe. It also probes hot gas accreting around supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. We also discover important information about our own galaxy: neutron stars, supernova remnants and stars like our sun which emit copious amounts of high energy radiation.

August 2022 Shows

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Masks are encouraged (it’s cozy in the planetarium) but not required. Seating is limited to 45, and we will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

The Sky in 2-d and 3-d

Friday, July 31, 7pm

&

Sunday, July 31, 5pm

 

Gaia-Second-Release

A tour of July night skies, followed by an exploration of how the “flat” sky we see actually has enormous depth.

The planetarium “tour” is guided by our docents and features several short fulldome movie clips.

Solar System Sensation

Friday, August 5, 7pm

&

Sunday, August 7, 5pm

A tour of the solar system, computer-generated on the fly for your infotainment. The 3d whiz-by features maps generated from NASA missions to the solar system, all rendered onto spheres and correctly placed in time and space

Sunstruck

Friday, August 12, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, August 14, 5 pm

A tour of August skies, followed by the fulldome movie “Sunstruck!” Travel back to the beginning of time and experience the birth of the Sun. Discover how it came to support life, how it threatens life as we know it, and how its energy will one day fade away.

Drifters in the Dark

Friday, August 19, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, August 21, 5 p.m.

Voyager 1 and 2 opened the outer solar system to our view for the first time. This program is an exploration of the Voyager mission; its history, its science results, and its current status as humanity’s most distant artificial object.

”Cycle” and ”The Incredible Sun”

Friday, August 26, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, August 28, 5 p.m.

A tour of September skies, followed by two short fulldome movies. “Cycles” displays time-lapse fisheye lens imagery. To speed time up compared with human experience allows hard-to-notice natural cycles to become visible. “The Incredible Sun” is a mission-based movie that shows the sun at many wavelengths outside the range of human vision.

Dark

Friday, September 2, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, September 4, 5 p.m.

A tour of September skies, followed by a fulldome movie about dark matter. What do we know, and how do we know it? And what is the path for finding out more?

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

March 2022 shows

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Masks are encouraged (it’s cozy in the planetarium) but not required. We will be limiting seating to 45, and will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

Selected Shorts

Friday, Mar 4, 7 pm

&

Sunday, Mar 6, 5 pm

A tour of March skies, followed by a selection of shorter fulldome productions from our video library.

Our expert docents spent seconds – even minutes – poring through our massive library to select only the best for you. But seriously, these are gems of little productions on a variety of interesting topics. You should experience them.

Rock the Rocks

Friday, Mar 25, 7 pm

&

Sunday, Mar 27, 5 pm

Rock the Rocks

Celebrate the planets with us in fulldome splendor in this musical WSU planetarium production. We’ll turn the volume to the very limit of OSHA recommendations, so folks with sensitive hearing might want to consider bringing ear protection – because we are gonna rock you. This tour is computer generated on-the-fly.

April 2022 shows

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Masks are encouraged (it’s cozy in the planetarium) but not required. Seating is limited to 45, and we will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

Audio Universe: Tour of the Solar System

7 pm, Friday, April 1

and

5 pm, Sunday, April 3

A tour of April night skies, followed by the fulldome planetarium production “Audio Universe: Tour of the Solar System.”

Experience the Solar System like never before – by traveling on a spacecraft that can turn the objects in space into sound!

The audience of this stunning 35 minute show are transported inside a special spacecraft that takes them to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to view the stars in the night sky, before lifting them off into space to visit the Earth, Moon, Sun and all the planets of the Solar
System.

Unlike traditional planetarium shows the soundtrack takes the lead role. Each of the objects in space are represented with sounds as well as being presented with the incredible 4K resolution visuals, The audience listen to the stars appear and hear the planets orbit around their heads. This means that this show is an immersive experience that can be enjoyed irrespective of level of vision.

This show is designed to be educational for children but proves to be an entertaining experience for people of all ages

Unveiling the Invisible Universe

7 pm, Friday, April 8

and

5 pm, Sunday, April 10

A tour of April night skies, followed by the fulldome planetarium production “Unveiling the Invisible Universe”

For thousands of years the humans observed the light coming from the night sky with their eyes. In the beginning of the 17th century, the invention of the telescope by Galileo revolutionized our knowledge of the Universe. Finally, in the 20th century with the advent of rockets, it became possible to go above the earth’s atmosphere and observe X-ray and gamma ray radiation which are the marks of the hot and violent Universe. But it is not only light that can give us information about the cosmos. Neutrinos and cosmic rays also provide vital information. Finally, the detection by the LIGO experiment of gravitational waves from two merging black holes opened a new window in astrophysics. This video presents images of the cosmos as revealed by all these different messengers.

The Dark Matter Mystery

7:00 p.m., Friday, April 15

&

5:00 p.m. Sunday, April 17

Our docent will give you a guided tour of April night skies. This is followed by “The Dark Matter Mystery,” a fulldome production.

What keeps galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the Universe? What makes the Universe look the way it looks today? Researchers all around the world try to answer these questions. We know today that approximately a quarter of the Universe is filled with a mysterious glue: dark matter. We know that it is out there. But we have no idea what it is made out of.

This planetarium show takes you on the biggest quest of contemporary astrophysics. You will see why we know that dark matter exists, and how this search is one of the most challenging and exciting searches science has to offer. Join the scientists on their hunt for dark matter with experiments in space and deep underground. Will they be able to solve the dark matter mystery?

From Earth to the Universe

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

&

5:00 p.m. Sunday, April 24

Our docent will give you a guided tour of April night skies. This is followed by “From Earth to the Universe,” a fulldome production.

“From the Earth to the Universe” is a stunning 30-minute voyage through time and space that conveys, through an arresting combination of sights and sounds, the Universe revealed to us by science.

A production of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Center.

May 2022 Shows

Tickets at the door are $5 (cash or check, no credit). Lap-sitting children (4 and under) are free with adult purchase. Masks are encouraged (it’s cozy in the planetarium) but not required. Seating is limited to 45, and we will be sanitizing between shows.  Scroll down for detailed directions to the WSU Planetarium, 231 Sloan Hall.

Distant Worlds – Alien Life?

7:00 p.m., Friday, April 29

&

5:00 p.m. Sunday, May 1

A tour of May night skies, followed by the fulldome planetarium production “Distant Worlds – Alien Life?”

“Distant Worlds – Alien Life?” explores the possibility of life on other planets. It gives the limits of biology as we know it, then intersects those constraints with what we know about Milky Way exoplanets. Imaginative visualizations of possible life forms are animated in a fulldome experience.

“Distant Worlds – Alien Life?”, originally “Ferne Welten – fremdes Leben?”, is a joint production by the planetariums in Münster, Bochum, Kiel, Mannheim, Osnabrück und Wolfsburg, produced at LWL-Planetarium Münster.

Red Eye to the Stars

7:00 p.m., Friday, May 6

&

5:00 p.m., Sunday, May 8

A tour of May night skies, followed by the fulldome planetarium production “Red-Eye to the Stars.”

“Red-Eye to the Stars” is a fulldome exploration of NASA’s flying observatory SOFIA.

On a clear evening, a jumbo jet takes heading into the sunset on California’s Pacific coast. Once the Boeing 747SP has reached its cruising altitude in the stratosphere, a hatch in the back of the plane opens to reveal the view into the depths of space.

“SOFIA”, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy, gathers thermal radiation from distant celestial objects unobstructed by the water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere. Among other things, it can be used to observe the nurseries of young stars in distant gas nebulae that remain hidden in the spectrum of visible light.

Join a film crew on a red-eye flight aboard the flying observatory SOFIA to unravel the mysteries of star birth from 50,000 feet above the sea.

Mayan Astronomy

Friday, May 13, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, May 15, 5 p.m.

A tour of May night skies, followed by the planetarium production “Mayan Astronomy”

Seeing!

Friday, May 20, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, May 22, 5 p.m.

A tour of May night skies, followed by the planetarium production “Seeing!”

 

Einstein’s Gravity Playlist

Friday, May 27, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, May 29, 5 p.m.

A tour of June night skies, followed by the fulldome movie “Einstein’s Gravity Playlist,” produced by Montana State University, all about gravitational waves and their exotic sources, such as inspiralling black holes.

 

Two Small Pieces of Glass

Friday, June 3, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, June 5, 5 p.m.

A tour of June night skies, followed by “Two Small Pieces of Glass,” a celebration of the telescope and the amazing discoveries this invention has enabled.

 

June 2022 Shows

Out There: The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds

Friday, June 10, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, June 12, 5 p.m.

A tour of June night skies, followed by the fulldome movie “Out There: The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds”

 

I Love You to the Moon and Back

Friday, June 17, 7 p.m.

&

Sunday, June 19, 5 p.m.

“Moonstruck” is a synonym for falling in love. We present a smattering of some of the more romantic stories behind constellations, the stars, and human space exploration.  This is a fulldome lecture-presentation.