Visiting the John C. Wells Planetarium
The John C. Wells Planetarium at James Madison University is a $2 million, state-of-the-art hybrid facility, the only one of its kind in the world. It hosts both an Evans & Sutherland Digistar 5, a ultra-high resolution digital projection system, and a Goto Chronos opto-mechanical star projector that provides visitors with a superior and realistic night sky. Our digital system allows us to present unique full dome movies as well as project the multi-wavelength universe on the dome. Our Goto Chronos starball allows us to project an authentic night sky for any location on the Earth’s surface.
The Planetarium has 72 seats, offers free Saturday public shows, from September thru to the end of June, but is also available for use mid-week by school groups and community groups (i.e., church groups, girl guides/boy scouts, etc.) at no charge by reservation. View our current schedule to determine availability. Fill out the reservation request form to book your group! The planetarium is also available for private functions (i.e., weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, etc.). Please email the planetarium director for further details.
ALL PUBLIC SHOWS ARE FREE!
NO TICKETS! NO RESERVATIONS!
Saturdays at 11am, 1pm, 2:15pm & 3:30pm
Following each full-dome film presentation we will raise our incredible Goto Chronos starball and highlight the Valley sky! We will show you the stars, planets and constellations you can see in your backyard sky later that night! If it is sunny, we will also have our solar telescopes set-up outside! See the Sun as the active, dynamic star that it is instead of the pale yellow dot drawn by kids! Don't miss out on seeing our STAR in a safe way that will leave you mesmerized! ALL FREE!
During the academic year, don't miss our monthly public star parties! This is the public's opprortunity to come on campus, look through our telescopes, and perhaps see our Moon, Jupiter and its 4 Galilean moons, Saturn and its majestic rings, binary stars and oh so much more! Public star parties are scheduled for the last Friday of every month. For the budding young scientist or engineer in your family, make sure you know about out summer Space Explorer Camps! We seek to inspire and excite the next generation of American scientists and engineers!
Travel with the brother-sister duo, Jack and Annie, in their Magic Tree House as they discover a note that asks them to answer a series of six questions about space. With the help of the astronomer, the Internet, an astronaut, books and the writer of the mysterious note, Jack and Annie are taken on a wondrous journey of adventure and learning. This exciting voyage will carry visitors to the planets and far out into the Universe where Jack and Annie nearly get... Well, we don't want to give it away. The adventure is just beginning! See the trailer
ORIGINS OF LIFE deals with some of the most profound questions of life science: the origins of life and the human search for life beyond Earth. Starting with the Big Bang, in chronological order, the show deals with the prebiotic chemistry in the Universe, the formation of stars, formation of solar systems, and the first life on Earth. It covers the great extinctions as well as our search for (primitive) life beyond planet Earth. This show is a inspirational journey through time and a celebration of life on Earth. It features many recent discoveries related to life science, demonstrating that if there was ever a time that science made its greatest advances, it¿s right now! See the trailer