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 welcome school groups of all ages to the planetarium, including pre-K, as well as other private non-school groups (e.g. scout groups, Mom's clubs, retirement centers, etc). However, teachers and parents should be aware that the planetarium gets extremely dark and some children may find this frightening. Shows are approximately one hour in length, including time for questions. A fee of $2 per person is charged for the show.
The planetarium seats 63 people. A minimum of 15 guests are required for all private shows. Groups larger than 63 will have to split into smaller sections. Please remember to include teachers and chaperons when determining the size of your group. We can provide two shows back-to-back to accommodate large groups or we can schedule shows on two separate dates.
A typical show for private groups consists mainly of a tour of the night sky. This would include pointing out several of the prominent constellations visible at night and some of the mythological stories behind them, the phases of the Moon, the planets that can be seen with the unaided eye, and the motion of the Sun throughout the year. Other topics can be included at the teacher's request.
To request a show for your group please fill out our reservation form below. There are NO evening or weekend group shows. This form is to be used to request a planetarium show for a school group or other private party. If you interested the public planetarium shows please visit this page.
For additional information about our shows please e-mail Dr. Karen Vanlandingham.