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John C. Wells Planetarium

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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

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.) at no charge 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

Magic Tree House: Space Mission
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 11a AND 1p FREE!

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


In Search of Our Cosmic Origins
John C. Wells Planetarium
Saturdays at 2:15pm AND 3:30pm

About 400 years ago, in Padua, Italy, Galileo observed the sky with a new instrument, the telescope, and our view of the world was transformed. Now, follow the young astronomer Ariane in the show "In search of our Cosmic Origins" to discover how astronomers are continuing Galileo¿s quest to understand the Universe. Ariane takes us on a journey from ALMA's unique site high in Chile's Atacama region, through our Milky Way and onward to some of the most distant galaxies, seen as they were in the early Universe. Closer to home, we learn about the formation of stars and planets, and how ALMA will help us answer questions about our origins. ALMA is the leading telescope for observing the cool Universe, the relic radiation of the Big Bang, and the molecular gas and dust that constitute the building blocks of stars, planetary systems, galaxies, and life itself. ALMA is managed right here in Virginia by National Radio Astronomy Observatory! See the trailer


#OurIslandUniverse

YouTube

Common astronomical misconceptions debunked on our YouTube channel.

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