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Spectators watching Planetarium show

FREE Shows EVERY Saturday

Join us every Saturday, Sept. thru June, at 11am, 1pm, 2:15pm & 3:30pm. All seats are FREE and are available on a first come, first seated basis.

Mystery of the Christmas Star 2017

Mystery of the Christmas Star Returns!

Our most popular show of the year, Mystery of the Christmas Star, returns to the Planetarium! Shows starts Dec 2 & will run thru to Dec 17.

First Night Harrisonburg 2018

Ring in 2018 with us!

The John C. Wells Planetarium is once again partnering with First Night Harrisonburg to provide high quality, family friendly events to welcome 2018! Shows start at 5p.

Science Sunday... for Girls

Science Sunday... For Girls!

FREE monthly event on the 1st Sunday, Sept. thru June, where girls can come out to learn about science via engaging, interactive, & hands-on activities!

Our Island Universe

Our Island Universe

OUR ISLAND UNIVERSE is a weekly, 90-second look at all things space hosted by Planetarium Director Shanil Virani! Podcast of all shows are available via SoundCloud, iTunes, & Google Play!

Astronomy Park Star Party

Public Star Parties

Monthly star parties, Sept thru April, at JMU's Astronomy Park. Located on the meadow behind the Physics/Chemistry building on JMU's campus east of I-81.

Using a sun spotter during space camp

Space Explorers Camp

2 week-long summer Space Explorers camps! Choose from a full day camp from July 10-14 OR a 1/2-day camp from July 17-21. Perfect for the young scientist/engineer in your family!

Sun's surface

See Our Star Safely!

On Saturdays, Sept. thru June, weather permitting, the planetarium provides special solar telescopes for looking at the Sun. Come see our Sun like you've never seen it before!

Shows Every Saturday

Join Our Mailing List!

Add yourself to our mailing list to be the first to learn of special events taking place at the Planetarium!

John C. Wells Planetarium Logo

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. 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. Arguably JMU's flagship community outreach program, the John C. Wells Planetarium welcomes more than 25,000 people every year!

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.) by reservation. View our current schedule to determine availability. Fill out the reservation request form to book your group!

ALL PUBLIC SHOWS ARE FREE!
NO TICKETS! NO RESERVATIONS!
Saturdays at 11am, 1pm, 2:15pm & 3:30pm
FROM SEPTEMBER THRU TO THE END OF JUNE!

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, our montly Science Sunday for Girls events, or our special Public Science talks! 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!

Interested in learning about recent discoveries in astronomy and the impact it has for us down here? Subscribe to "Our Island Universe" podcast via iTunes!

Saturday Matinées

Legends of the Night Sky: Orion
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 11a AND 1p

Legends of the night sky: Orion is the world's first traditionally animated full dome movie. Legends takes a fun-filled and imaginative look at the stories and legends about Orion, the great hunter of the winter sky. Legends: Orion is an ideal show for family audiences and younger viewers. Greek mythology will never seem the same once you've seen all this production from AudioVisual and Spitz Creative Media. (24 minutes) See the trailer


Out There: The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 2:15pm AND 3:30pm FREE!

For thousands of years, mankind thought that the Earth was the centre of the Universe. Thanks to our curiosity, imagination and urge to explore, we now know that planets like our Earth are nothing special in the cosmos. The Sun is just one ordinary star among hundreds of billions in our galaxy, the Milky Way. With the world¿s most powerful telescopes, we are able to explore more and more of the Universe. What we have found so far has surpassed even the wildest expectations of scientists as well as authors of science fiction. Most stars have planets ¿ it turns out they are more common than we thought. A huge diversity of different worlds is out there, just waiting to be discovered. See the trailer


#OurIslandUniverse

YouTube

Common astronomical misconceptions debunked on our YouTube channel.

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More Shows

  • Dec 2: Mystery of the Christmas Star Returns!
  • Dec 31: First Night Harrisonburg: Special Planetarium Shows!

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