W.J. McCallion Planetarium


Department of Physics & Astronomy > W.J. McCallion Planetarium
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Banner and navigation constellation images from the open source planetarium software, Stellarium:


Frequently Asked Questions
And a few infequently asked questions too.

How many people can attend a show?

Our seating capacity is 35 + 1 wheelchair space; that is the maximum size your group can be. As for the minimum size: you can book a show all to yourself if you'd like.

Can't some of us sit on the floor?

No. The only floor space is the emergency exit route. Sitting there would be a violation of the fire code and horribly unsafe.

So, is this like a movie or something?

Our shows are not pre-recorded, they are given live by one of our presenters. This allows for interaction between the audience and the presenter and also for the content and level of the show to be tailored to each specific audience.

Is there going to be someone there during the show?

Yes, the presenter giving the show. All of our presenters are pursuing graduate studies in astronomy and will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Do you have those shows where it's all lasers and Pink Floyd music and stuff?

Our shows tend to focus on pointing out astronomical objects currently visible in the night sky as well as discussing astrophysically interesting objects that are too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. Very little time is devoted to the popular music of recent decades.

When are you going to open the roof so we can see the real stars?

Many younger visitors confuse a planetarium and an observatory. An observatory houses instruments for viewing the sky. A planetarium shows images of the stars, planets, moon and other objects in the sky. Our dome does not open. If it did tables and chairs from the room above would fall on us.

You recommend only bringing children ages six and up. Is it okay if I bring my three year old?

We try to adjust the content of our shows to fit the audience that we have. It has been our experience that children younger than six don't really get a lot out of a planetarium show geared towards older children or adults. Given the length of the show they can become bored and restless and a distraction to the other children. To be fair to other patrons, the presenter will ask children to leave if they become too noisy. The acoustics of the dome make even small noises very loud.

How about my baby - can I bring her/him?

You do not have to pay for babies under two in arms. However, as with the above, the presenter will ask you to leave if babies become too noisy.

If I need to exit mid-show, can I re-enter?

During a public show, you will not be allowed to re-enter if you leave the dome. To do so would be dangerous because the stairs and dome are dark during the show. We regret we accept no responsibility for a patron having to leave, whatever the reason: no refund, no re-entry, and no transfer to another show.

Where can I buy tickets to the public show?

You can reserve tickets here. Admission is $7/person, and payment is received at the door only, payable is cash only. Unreserved seating is first-come first-served, and may be available even on sold-out shows if not all those with reservations show up.