Earth & Space Science
About the Planetarium
The Department of Earth & Space Science operates the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Planetarium at West Chester University. The Mather 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 Mather 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 Science and Mathematics, 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 weekday shows for educational groups 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.
In addition to the live shows, astronomy-themed movies are shown. These are specifically formatted for the planetarium dome, providing an impressive and immersive experience. Each presentation consists of a live 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 students in the Department of Earth & Space Science. Parents with young children may find these presentations more suitable for their family than the live shows. A short description of the movies that we show can be found here.
We have special events throughout the year at the Mather Planetarium. These events are typically free of charge. You can find a list of special events here.
Show Details and Ticket Information:
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 $6 per person ($4 for the ticket and a $2 processing fee). Children under the age of 5 may sit on a parent's lap for free. Doors open at 6:30pm. Shows are general seating.
Tickets for public shows can be purchased on-line at http://www.wcupatix.com or by calling 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 Mather Planetarium is located in the Schmucker Science Center on the north campus of West Chester University. The Schmucker Science Center sits on the corner of Church St. 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. There are several entrances to the Schmucker Science Center however the most direct route to the Mather Planetarium is through the entrance off of Rosedale Ave.
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 Ave., after 5pm.
A campus map showing the location of the Mather Planetarium and the K Parking Lot can be found at the bottom of this page.
The dates for the live shows for the 2016-2017 season are shown below. We will be adding additional dates for pre-recorded shows soon. Thank you for your support!
Oct. 14, 2016 - Star Clusters, Stellar Siblings - SOLD OUT
Reservations taken starting Sept. 23
Oct. 28, 2016 - Sky tour and "Astronaut" movie
Reservations taken starting Oct. 12
Nov. 4, 2016 - Raining Stars - SOLD OUT
Reservations taken starting Oct. 14
Dec. 2, 2016 - Dethroning the Earth
Reservations taken starting Nov. 11
Jan. 27, 2017 - Mars & Venus: Our Planetary Neighbors
Reservations taken starting Jan. 6
Feb. 24, 2017 - A Star Is Born
Reservations taken starting Feb. 3
Mar. 31, 2017 - A Universe of Galaxies
Reservations taken starting Mar. 10
Apr. 28, 2017 - A Total Solar Eclipse
Reservations taken starting Apr. 7
If you have questions about the public shows please 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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