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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

Sept 20/22 Solar System Sensation

Sept 27/29 Presentación del Planetario en Español

Oct 11/13 Strange Universe

Oct 25/27 Haunted Skies

Nov 8/10 Mercury Transit

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

Dec 6/8 Turn, Turn, Turn

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.

Solar System Sensation

Friday, September 20, 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 22, 5 p.m.

A musical tour of the planets of the solar system. Our computer simulates exact configurations for times and dates and allows fly-bys and zoom-ins.

Presentación del Planetario en Español

Friday, September 27, 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 29, 5 p.m.

Viernes 27 de Septiembre, 7 p.m. y Domingo 29 de Septiembre a las 5 p.m.


Our most popular planetarium tour, in Spanish! Constellations, sky motions, sky navigation, and planet highlights for 2019/2020.

¡Nuestro recorrido por el planetario más popular, en español! Constelaciones, movimientos del cielo, navegación del cielo y aspectos más destacados del planeta para 2019/2020.

Los boletos en la puerta cuestan $ 5 (efectivo o cheque, sin crédito). Niños de 6 años y menores gratis.


Strange Universe

Friday, October 11, 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 13, 5 p.m.

Oddities abound in space. Black holes and wormholes, sure, but that’s just the beginning of the list for cosmic mind-benders. Join us for an interactive, illustrated talk on the crazy – and real – objects in the universe. Revamped presentation: even stranger in 2019.

Haunted Skies

Friday, October 25, 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 27, 5 p.m.

Ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night? We sure do love to scare ourselves. Tour the (imaginary) terrors of the night sky from myth and legend. We also share some fascinating illusions such as the X-ray picture of the Perseus galaxy cluster pictured here.

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. (Exact titles coming soon; all six shows will be different.) We will show our most intriguing fulldome videos and our most compelling astronomical journeys in 30 minute bites.

Turn, Turn, Turn

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

This show is all about solstices and equinoxes. One thing’s for sure, they come around like clockwork. We’ll illustrate all the hows and whys and explore related topics such as timekeeping, the meaning of “day” and “year,” and what a calendar is. And, yes, we’ll talk about Stonehenge a bit.

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)