The planetarium offers free weekly lunchtime shows on Fridays for the SF State community and members of the public. On request, and schedule permitting, we also do shows for non-astronomy classes. For example, we have provided shows for pre-service teachers in the College of Education, math classes, journalism classes, the COSE Dean's office staff, the Human Resources office staff. On request, and schedule permitting, we also provide shows for other colleges, and for community organizations. We prefer that the size of the group be at least 20.
When are public shows available?
The lunchtime shows are offered on Fridays when classes are in session. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and close at 12:40 p.m. sharp. There is no late admission. Shows end by 1:30 p.m. The shows alternate between 'Guided' shows, which are live tours of the night sky, and 'Quiet' shows, which are a meditative experience in which the stars are projected and the audience is free to look at them quietly on their own.
For class or community shows at other times, please contact us. Tuesday and Thursday mornings are most available, although other times can sometimes be accommodated.
What to do if you want a show?
If you have a class or a community group that you would like to bring to the planetarium, please contact us. Please also read our Rules and Guidelines.
What are the shows like?
Our planetarium shows are live and interactive. We show the night sky as it is seen from Earth and tell the audience about the things they can see there. Since it is a real human being operating the equipment and talking, the shows adjust to the needs and interests of each audience.
Our planetarium is small, it holds about 45 people. In such a space every member of the audience can be heard and has the opportunity to ask questions.
In the planetarium, we show the stars, highlight the prominent constellations, and tell their stories. We show how the stars change their position during a night and over the year. We see how the Sun rises, moves across the sky, and sets each day, and how that changes during the year and causes the seasons. We show the Moon and how its appearance and position among the stars changes during a month. We see the planets, which look like stars to the eye, and how they move against the background of stars over weeks and months. Given these objects and their motions in the sky, we also discuss various models that have been proposed throughout history to account for what we see. By comparing and evaluating these models, we have come to understand our world and our solar system.