Our 47-seat planetarium is equipped with a Digitarium Kappa digital projector, the first of its kind in the world. With this facility we can reproduce the night sky as seen from anywhere on Earth or from the surface of any object in the solar system, and at any time in history, past or future. The VSU Planetarium serves as a valuable teaching tool and as a facility for an extensive public outreach program. Astronomy majors give planetarium shows for thousands of visiting school children and members of nonprofit civic organizations.
If you would like to bring a group to the planetarium, please read our Planetarium Policy.
The planetarium was extensively renovated during the summer of 2011. An article from the Valdosta Daily Times gives a brief description.
- All of our shows are suitable for ages five and up.
- Shows begin on Friday evenings at 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm sharp and last 40 to 50 minutes.
- The shows are followed by observatory open house, if weather permits.
- Seating is available on a "first come, first served" basis and is limited to 47 per show. When you arrive, pick up a FREE TICKET (it is your place-holder!). Tickets are distributed starting at 6 pm and are limited to 7 tickets per party. Before the show, your ticket will be called. If you are not there by show-time, your seat(s) will be given away.
On February 12 the Valdosta State University Planetarium presents: “Where Have All the Planets Gone?” at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm. If you’re a sky watcher, you may have noticed that there aren’t many planets in the evening sky, at least not until about 9:00 pm when a bright dot—the planet Jupiter—rises in the east. You must wait until after 1:00 am for Mars to rise, even later for Saturn, Venus and Mercury. So the answer to the question, “Where Have All the Planets Gone?” is: “To morning skies, all but one,” (with apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary). Presenter Dr. Martha Leake notes that the planets, including Earth, are in motion, each at their separate speeds, and the combination of motions means that “sometimes we see several planets in the evening skies, and sometimes we don’t.” Morning sky observers can see all the visible planets and the Moon arrayed on a line from west to east, including, in that order, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury, while standing on Earth! The planets “line up” on the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun against the distant backdrop of the zodiac constellations. The Moon, at its swifter pace to the east, visits each planet, and on February 6, Saturday, will form a delicate triangle with Mercury and Venus in the eastern dawn sky. By February 12, the crescent Moon will be back in the evening sky.
Last year, the two brightest “wanderers”, Venus and Jupiter, appeared to meet several times in the dusk sky. Over 50 years ago, an unusual planetary “massing” occurred on February 4, 1962, when the Sun, Moon and 5 planets “met” in the constellation of Capricornus, grouped tightly together, but made invisible by the Sun in the middle of the group.
Please come to our public planetarium show on Friday, February 12, for presentations at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm. If weather permits, visitors to the observatory deck may see the Moon and Jupiter, the constellations Orion, Ursa Major, and Leo, along with their hidden “deep sky” treasures. Because seating in the planetarium is limited to 47 persons per show, visitors must pick up free tickets (a limit of 7, please, on a first-come, first served basis) on Feb. 12, beginning at 6 pm. (The ticket line begins to form about 5 pm.) No advanced reservations are possible. Do return 15 minutes before your program begins. The planetarium is located in Nevins Hall, Room 3004, on the third floor. An elevator to the 3rd and 4th floors is near the southeast door to Nevins. For further information, please call the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences main office, at 229-333-5752.