The Wernher Von Braun Planetarium is a very useful tool for teaching astronomy and for revealing the wonders of the sky to the public. It is a natural companion to our observatories. During its construction in 1963, the planetarium was furnished by volunteer VBAS members. Its GOTO Model S-2 projector was donated by Mr. Frank Wyle on behalf of Wyle Laboratories on May 25 of the same year. More information on the formation of the VBAS facilities can be seen on our Facilities page as well as our VBAS Timeline.

Planetarium Star Projector

The Planetarium:

Building
40x40 foot Bulter Shell with 33-foot diameter dome*
Projector
GOTO Model S-2, 32 star projectors
Tools
Condenser System, Star Plates, Wide-angle Projection Lenses, Arrow Pointer
Projection Capabilities
2,500 stars to the 5th magnitude, Two groups for Northern and Southern Hemispheres

*During the construction of the planetarium, the biggest task was to assemble the 33-foot diameter dome and hoist it 7 feet. The members of VBAS hoisted the dome by turning 16 nuts on 16 threaded rods bolted to the planetarium’s support beams.

Installation of the Planetarium Dome

Our VBAS members and guest speakers present a variety of astronomy related programs in our planetarium every Saturday at 7:30 pm for the public and by special arrangements for groups at other times.

Our programs are presenter-led presentations projected onto our dome with three HD digital projectors. Most of our presentations are developed by individual presenters, which allows the audience to have an opportunity to interact with someone who has researched the particular topic and can likely answer most of their questions. While the majority of our shows are suitable for most ages, some topics may be a bit more technical than others. Our shows will also include a "star show" using our Spitz A3P Planetarium Projector to project of the current night sky's stars on the dome, where the audience will learn to find some of the key constellations visible that night.

If you have any questions about our Saturday night programs, or would like to schedule a group program, email us through our Contact page and use the Subject line “Planetarium” so that we can get you a timely answer.

Admission

All tickets must be purchased at the door.