Planetarium (K-12 Field Trips)
The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State has a small planetarium (15' dome) at our University Park campus that can seat approximately 25-30 visitors. We offer planetarium shows year round to visiting K-12 classes and some community groups (for example, scouts and summer camps). Our planetarium is staffed by student and faculty volunteers and the shows are free of charge.
Each show is typically 25-45 minutes long. We often accompany the planetarium show with another activity, such as one of our popular 3D tours of Mars, the Milky Way, and the Universe beyond our Galaxy. These feature spectacular astronomical images from the surface of Mars, to dusty nebulae, to dazzling galaxies, rendered in three dimensions with the aid of special eyeglasses and a projection screen. For younger visitors (K-2), we recommend the 3D tour of Mars, or one of our Phases of the Moon or Earth's Seasons demos.
The total time for the show and activity is 1 hour.
These programs can only be scheduled during open time slots between Penn State classes. We do our best to accommodate every group, but we may not be able to schedule your group in your first choice of time slot, so please be prepared to give 2 or 3 possible times when you would like to visit.
To schedule a show, please use our Field Trip Request Form.
For more information, please contact:
We do not currently offer shows for groups of children younger than kindergarten age. Also, we do not currently offer shows to private groups besides the exceptions noted above. However, our planetarium is open to the community during AstroFest (mid-July) and the Penn State Parents and Families Night (early fall).
The contact information and request form on this page are only for requesting visits to Penn State University Park. If you are interested in visiting one of the other campuses in the Penn State system for an astronomy program, please visit the website of that campus to find contact information for that campus. Another contact for astronomy outreach programs in the Penn State system is:
Jim Gavio - Planetarium Director
Erie Planetarium at Penn State Behrend