Geology & Astronomy
About the Planetarium
The Department of Geology and Astronomy operates the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Planetarium at West Chester University. The planetarium is equipped with a state-of-the-art SciDome XD Touch digital projector. The dome is a 32-foot nanoseam dome manufactured by Spitz, Inc. The planetarium is used for WCU astronomy classes, K-12 school groups, and public programs Our programs are made possible by a variety of funding sources including the WCU College of Arts and Sciences, admissions fees, and generous public donations. For information about how you can help support the Mather Planetarium please visit the WCU Foundation website.
Approximately 50 schools and other groups attend the programs each year, and annual attendance approaches 2,000. We offer weekly shows for educational groups (including pre-K) during the fall and spring semesters. For more information on School/Group Planetarium shows please visit the following site.
About the Public Programs
Our live shows are held once a month during the regular academic year. These presentations are given by a PhD astronomer and consist of an overview of what is currently visible in the night sky. In addition, each show focuses on a specific aspect of astronomy, the topic of which changes each month. The shows are appropriate for all ages, however, the content and duration of the show may be more appealing to older children and adults.
Twice a month, astronomy-themed movies are shown. These are specifically formatted for the planetarium dome, providing an impressive and immersive experience. Each presentation consists of a 20 minute overview of the current night sky followed by an educational and entertaining movie, roughly 30 minutes in length. These presentations are run by a graduate student in the department of Geology & Astronomy. Parents with young children may find these presentations more suitable for their family than the live show.
Details and Tickets:
All shows start at 7pm and run approximately one hour in length. Late arrivals will not be permitted to enter the planetarium. The cost of the show is $5 per person. Children under the age of 5 may sit on a parent's lap for free.
To purchase tickets for a public show, please contact the SSI Ticket Office at 610-436-2266. The ticket office is open M-F starting at 8:15am. Tickets will not be sold more than three weeks in advance of the show date. Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be purchased at the planetarium.
The Planetarium is located in the Schmucker Science Center on the north campus of West Chester University. The main entrance to the Schmucker Science Center is on Church St. between University Ave. and Rosedale Ave. The planetarium is in the link - the one-story round portion of the building that connects the north and south (multi-story) parts of the building.
For the evening general public shows, visitors may park for free in the parking lot behind the Sykes Student Union building (Lot K), located on Rosedale Avenue, after 5pm. Visitors may also park in the meters along Church St. and Rosedale Ave. The meters are free after 5pm. A campus map with parking information can be found at the bottom of this page.
Dates for the 2014-2015 Public Show Series:
Dec. 5, 2014 - Sky tour and movie "Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity"
Reservations taken starting Nov. 14.
Dec. 12, 2014 - Live Show: Ancient Astronomy - SOLD OUT
Reservations taken starting Nov. 21.
Feb. 6, 2015 - Live Show: The Expanding, Accelerating Universe
Reservations taken starting Jan. 16.
Mar. 6, 2015 - Live Show: Venus -The Evening Star
Reservations taken starting Feb. 13.
Apr. 3, 2015 - Live Show: Walking on the Moon
Reservations taken starting Mar. 13.
May 1, 2015 - Live Show: Pluto Demoted
Reservations taken starting Apr 10.
If you have questions about the public shows you may contact the planetarium director, Dr. Karen Schwarz.
Would you like to receive information about upcoming planetarium events? Sign up to be on our mailing list (using the form below) and we'll keep you up to date on what's happening! You can also download a copy of our latest newsletter. Thank you for your interest in the Mather Planetarium!
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