Geology & Astronomy
The Department of Geology and Astronomy operates the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Planetarium at West Chester University. The planetarium recently underwent a major renovation. The Spitz A-5 opto-mechanical projector that was installed in 1969 was replaced with a state-of-the-art SciDome XD Touch digital projector. The dome was also replaced with a 32-foot nanoseam dome manufactured by Spitz, Inc. This renovation was largely supported by one very generous donor, however we are still working to raise funds to recoup the remaining cost of the project. For more information about how you can donate to the planetarium, please visit the WCU Foundation website.
The planetarium is used for astronomy class lectures and labs as well as for school and public programs. 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.
The department also holds monthly evening shows for the general public. These shows are held once a month during the regular academic year. The shows consist of an overview of what is currently visible in the night sky. In addition to this, each show includes a short presentation with a special focus on some aspect of astronomy, the topic of which changes each month. The shows are appropriate for all ages however parents should keep in mind that the planetarium does get very dark and small children may find this frightening.
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. To purchase tickets please contact the SSI ticket office at 610-436-2266. Tickets will not be sold more than three weeks in advance of the show date. Tickets 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 general public shows, visitors may park for free in the parking lot behind the Sykes Student Union building (Lot K), located on Rosedale Avenue. 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 2013-2014 Public Series are listed below:
October 18, 2013 - Venus: The Evening Star
Reservations taken starting September 27 - SOLD OUT
November 15, 2013 - Comet ISON
Reservations taken starting October 25 - SOLD OUT
, 2013 - So You Want To Buy A Star...
Reservations taken starting December 2 - SOLD OUT
February 7, 2014 - Andromeda: Our Galaxy Neighbor
Reservations taken starting January 17
March 7, 2014 - A Star Is Born
Reservations taken starting February 14
April 4, 2014 - Astronomy on the Internet: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Reservations taken starting March 14
May 2, 2014 - Black Holes Don't Suck
Reservations taken starting April 11
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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