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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.

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

TWO week-long summer Space Explorers camps in July! Choose from a full day camp from July 17-21 or a 1/2-day camp from July 24-28! Perfect for the young scientist 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.

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.

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!


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 series!

Saturday Matinées

Earth, Moon and Sun
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 11am AND 1pm FREE!

This planetarium show explores the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun with the help of Coyote, an amusing character adapted from Native American oral traditions who has many misconceptions about our home planet and its most familiar neighbors. His confusion about the universe makes viewers think about how the Earth, Moon and Sun work together as a system. Native American stories are used throughout the show to help distinguish between myths and science. See the trailer

DARK: Understanding Dark Matter
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 2:15pm AND 3:30pm FREE!

DARK is a full-dome movie that explains and explores the nature of dark matter, the missing 80% of the mass of the Universe. The search for dark matter is the most pressing astrophysical problem of our time ¿ the solution to which will help us understand why the Universe is as it is, where it came from, and how it has evolved over billions of years ¿ the unimaginable depths of deep time, of which a human life is but a flickering instant. But in that instant, we can grasp its immensity and, through science, we can attempt to understand it. See the trailer


Common astronomical misconceptions debunked on our YouTube channel.


More Shows

  • Oct 28: Public Star Party on October 28
  • Nov 1: The First Light in the Universe
  • Nov 18: Public Star Party on November 18

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