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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.

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.

Using a sun spotter during space camp

Space Explorers Camp

3 week-long summer Space Explorers camps in July! A residential explorers camp from July 12 to 18, a 1/2-day camp July 20 to 24, and a full day Space Explorers camp from July 27 to 31.

Sun's surface

See Our Star Safely!

On Saturdays, 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

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, 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!

Saturday Matinées

Exo-Planets: Worlds of Wonder
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 11a AND 1p

Using the latest data from multiple planet-hunting missions including Kepler, Exo-Planets: Worlds Of Wonder follows Mankind's first Space Probe as it journeys outside our solar system to the many new worlds astronomers are discovering beyond. Audiences will explore Gas Giant planets caught in a deadly dance with their host stars, frozen Rogue planets hurling through space, molten rocky worlds now known to science and new planets orbiting within the Goldilocks Zone, the habitable region around a star where Earth-like worlds may exist. See the trailer


To Space and Back
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 2:15p AND 3:30p

Space exploration -- our greatest adventure -- is having a big impact on our lives. It's helping us to discover a universe of unimaginable scale and beauty, and it's reaching down into our world and influencing the way we live. To Space and Back takes audiences on an incredible journey from the far reaches of our known universe to our own planet. It is an extraordinary story of human ingenuity and incredible engineering, describing how the technology that transports us through space is paving the way for the devices and apps we use every day. What's happening above is coming back down to Earth! Discover how we've been changed by space exploration, and what we owe to curiosity and the spirit of discovery. See the trailer


YouTube

Common astronomical misconceptions debunked on our YouTube channel.

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