One of our most popular features returns at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29.
Free Parking for the planetarium's Saturday shows is available in parking lots across Grace Street from Miller Hall, where the John C. Wells Planetarium is located. Both lots, N5 and N6, can be accessed from East Grace Street. The N6 lot also can be accessed from Mason Street, across from the old Rockingham Memorial Hospital emergency room entrance.
Weekday Parking During School Year
School Bus Parking: Single-bus parking is permitted in the bus lane behind Miller Hall for groups attending planetarium field trips. Permission is limited to one bus. All personal vehicles must park in the R-12 lot and must get a permit by filling out the permit request form. Permits are to be picked up from the Parking Services Offices. Directions to parking services can be found here. School buses should park as far back as they can in the striped bus lane to allow room for public transit buses. DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS
Planetarium Parking Map (Checkmark on map indicates planetarium entrance.)
Exoplanets: Worlds of Wonder
Using the latest data from multiple planet-hunting missions including Kepler, ExoPlanets: 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.
FREE, 1:00 p.m. Saturday
Comets & Discovery
The show takes the viewer on a journey of discovery. We follow two intrepid comet hunters in first-person: one, a modern explorer, the other, Caroline Herschel, the famous 18th century comet huntress that ruled the skies for many generations. With both, we learn how they each searched the skies, made their discoveries, and reported them for other astronomers to bear out. We also learn about what people thought comets were and their importance to them. (20 minutes)
FREE, 2:15 & 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Have a look at the Sun!
On matinée weekends, sky conditions permitting, the planetarium provides special solar telescopes for looking at the Sun. Come see the sun in a way you have not seen it before.
Taking Astronomy to the Market
During the JMU school year, the last Saturday of each month, weather permitting, at the Harrisonburg Farmer's Market. JMU Physics and Astronomy staff will be on hand at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market to answer questions about the universe, assist with telescopes and provide other activities.
You can always ask questions about astronomy at the Astronomy at the Market Facebook site.
Free Shows For The Public on Saturdays
The Wells Planetarium offers free shows for the public on Saturdays during the fall and spring semesters at 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Seating begins 10 minutes before showtime on a first-come, first-seated basis. The first show is geared toward families with young children while the second show appeals to older children and adults.
Each show is followed by a 25-minute "star talk" that provides visitors with updates about the night sky, including constellations, planets and any comets that might be visible.
To make reservations go to our reservation page.
Contact Planetarium Director
Mr. Shanil Virani: (540) 568-4071
Please be aware: The John C. Wells planetarium strives to bring cutting-edge science to JMU as well as to the community at large. To this end, the staff presents well-established science that is based on consensus from the scientific community. We acknowledge there are differing opinions on topics such as evolution, the big bang, age of the Earth, and global warming, but we will present the scientific perspective of these topics. Our faculty, presenters and interns will not alter their presentations when discussing what some consider controversial science topics.