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Physics and Astronomy WSU Planetarium

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 ten 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.

2018 Fall
$5 public shows


Aug 24/26 Galaxies Like Dust

Sept 7/9 Venus Ascendant

Sept 21/23 Solar System Sensation

Oct 12/14 Time for Dr. Who

Oct 26/28 Haunted Skies

Nov 9/11 Mayan Astronomy

Nov 30/Dec 2 New Horizons: Pluto

Summer 2018 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.

Magnificent Desolation

Friday, July 20, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 22, 5:00 p.m

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This presentation focuses on the exploration of the moon. The amazing history of the Apollo program interweaves with the science of this familiar yet enigmatic natural satellite.

Galaxies like Dust

Friday, Aug 24, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Aug 26, 5:00 p.m.

The scale of the universe, from atom to cosmic web, expands the mind. In this show, we dive into the frothy spacescape of galaxies. Composed of gas and dark matter,  galaxies are the crossroads of astrophysics, where everything from stellar structure to black holes to cosmology seems to have some effect.

 

Fall 2018 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.

Galaxies Like Dust

Friday, Aug 24, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Aug 26, 5:00 p.m.

Comprehending the vastness of the Milky Way is hard enough, with its 100,000 light-year diameter and 400 billion stars. But the Milky Way is only one galaxy, our home galaxy. Hundreds of billions more galaxies hang like jewels in the firmament, each as wondrous and complex as the Milky Way, and each with its own history.

Venus Ascendant

Friday, September 7, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 9, 5:00 p.m.

Image credit: Isaac Gutiérrez Pascual

All about our September “evening star:” How to observe it, its mythology, its symbolism, its physical characteristics, and its geology.

Pythagoras (ca 570 BC) is sometimes credited with identifying the “morning star” and the “evening star” as the same object, Venus.  Whether or not this is true (really, it should be pretty obvious to any dedicated sky watcher), Venus is a spectacular gemlike beacon of beauty in the sky. Its regular cycle of positions and phases repeats every 584 (earth) days. Galileo’s Venus observations confirmed a Copernican solar system. As another world, Venus’s thick clouds obscure a fabulous geology, revealed by the radar mapper mission Magellan.

Solar System Sensation

Friday, September 21, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 23, 5:00 p.m.

Our amazing planets, up close and personal. Sit back and relax as we pan over 3d maps of each of the planets, accompanied by music. Includes our asteroid belts (both of them) and Pluto as well.

Time for Dr. Who

Friday, October 12, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 14, 5:00 p.m.

Time Lords. The Tardis. Daleks. Sonic screwdrivers. How much of that is real? How much of that might be real?

Come find out at one of our most popular repeated shows. Set your spacetime coordinates for the WSU Planetarium, and don’t forget to dress up (optionally), because it’s Time for Dr. Who.

Costume contest – come in Whovian themed attire!

Haunted Skies

Friday, October 26, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 28, 5:00 p.m.

Halloween’s celestial origins in the misty traditions of the ancient Celts. Spooky sights in space. And a few things that are actually frightening.

Costume contest – come in space or sci-fi themed attire!

Mayan Astronomy

Friday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 11, 5:00 p.m.

Image: El Carasol Observatory.

The sophisticated astronomy of the Mayan culture. Find out the dual way the Mayans kept track of the calendar. Learn some Mayan myths. And enjoy a fulldome animation produced under the auspices of the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico.

New Horizons – To Pluto and Beyond

Friday, November 30, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday,  December 2, 5:00 p.m.

All about Pluto. It’s discovery, its demotion, and its eventual rediscovery in the summer of 2015 by NASA’s New Horizons mission.

Directions

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.

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We are excited 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. 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)