Kutztown University Planetarium
KU geologist Dr. Kurt Friehauf will serve as the interim Planetarium Director and will continue to present shows while Dr. Phill Reed is doing research on a one-year sabbatical leave. Dr. Reed will share his exciting new research results with you when he returns to the planetarium in Fall 2023. In the meantime, four of Dr. Reed’s Kutztown University students will present their research at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington! You can read summaries of their research at the following links:
Murphy and Reed - TESS Follow-up Observations to Confirm Transits of TOI-1516b, TOI-2025b, and TOI-2152b
Raup and Reed - Follow-up Observations Toward the Confirmation of TESS Transiting Exoplanet Candidates TOI-3646, TOI-3660, and TOI-4153
Smith et al. - Ephemeris Refinement of TESS Objects for Future Observations
Tiburcio and Reed - Photometric and Spectroscopic Monitoring of the Long-Period Algol Binary KU Cygni
In addition to Kutztown University Special Events, we offer planetarium shows to the public on the third Thursday of the month (usually) at 6:30 pm free of charge (because we believe philanthropy is a good choice in life).
Most shows start with an introduction to current astronomical events we explore using the stellar atlas to travel to any place in the galaxy at any time in the past or future 100,000 years. We then view a specially-designed, full-dome documentary that investigates astronomical phenomena in amazingly immersive, full-surround detail, followed by a question & answer period with Dr. Kurt Friehauf (and sometimes with KU's astrophysicist and permanent planetarium director Dr. Phill Reed!) This year’s public evening shows are:
September 22 - Beyond the Sun: In Search of a New Earth
October 20 - Birth of Planet Earth
November 17 - Destination Mars: The New Frontier
December 15 - Extreme Planets
December 21 - Season of Light
January 19 - Dinosaurs at Dusk
February 16 - Our Violent Planet
March 23 - Planet 9 (note: this is the fourth Thursday of March)
April 20 - Incoming!
May 11 - Black Holes - Journey into the Unknown (note: this particular show is on the second Thursday rather than third)
Small School Group Wednesdays
If you have a small school group (fewer than 30 visitors) who would like to see a daytime show – perhaps as a school field trip – you may be interested in attending one of our Small School Group Wednesday daytime matinee shows which we offer each month. These shows begin at 9:30 am and conclude at 10:50 am. No tickets or special arrangements are necessary for these shows – they’re first-come-first-serve, and are free of charge because we value learning and community. Doors open at 9:15 am. Be sure not to be late because late-comers cannot be admitted (because the planetarium will be dark and unnavigable once the show starts). Note: We are an educational facility, so Wednesday Small School Group presentations are only for school-aged children attending as part of their school curriculum - no children under 5 are permitted in Small School Group Wednesday shows.
January 18 – Extreme Planets
February 01 and 15 – Birth of Planet Earth
March 01 and 22 – Our Violent Planet
April 05 and 19 – Dinosaurs at Dusk
May 03 – Chronicle of a Journey to Earth
Large School Group and other Special Shows
Organizing more than 30 visitors may require additional flexibility. If you have a large school group (30 or more), or if you are seeking a special evening show for a large community group (scouts, church, clubs), or have other special needs:
Please use this form to request a special planetarium show for your group (schools, scouting troops, and other community groups).
Directions to the Planetarium
The Kutztown University Planetarium is located on the ground floor of the Grim Science Building in Room 100. The planetarium is used for introductory astronomy classes and projects, and for the university's Astronomy Outreach Program. The KU Planetarium features a full-dome digital projection system with surround sound and a full-color laser projection system.