Spring 2018 Schedule of Public Shows

We’re excited to bring you another semester of free digital planetarium shows, starting Sunday, January 28.  The four “Sky this Month” shows will cover what you can see from your yard as well as current astronomy news. “Constellations across the Cultures” is a show we produced ourselves last year. Brand new in April will be our new full-dome show on the topic of time, now in production. We’ll use the full-dome, immersive environment of the planetarium to explore the subject of time and timekeeping from sundials to relativity, with insights from Gettysburg College faculty. Written and produced by Gettysburg College students and staff.

The Sky this Month

  • January 28, 2:30
  • January 28, 4:00
  • February 1, Noon


Constellations across the Cultures (Our Own Production from Spring 2017)

  • February 18, 2:30
  • February 18, 4:00
  • February 22, Noon


The Sky this Month

  • March 4, 2:30
  • March 4, 4:00
  • March 8, Noon


The Sky this Month

  • March 25, 2:30
  • March 25, 4:00
  • March 29, Noon


Our Own New  Production on the Topic of TIME, Title TBA

  • April 15 , 2:30
  • April 15, 4:00
  • April 19, Noon


The Sky this Summer

  • April 29, 2:30
  • April 29, 4:00
  • May 3, Noon

Here’s the schedule in PDF form: Hatter_Schedule_S18

Coming Up: “The Hot and Energetic Universe”

Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2:30 and 4:00
Thursday, Nov. 16, at 12:00 Noon

The Hatter Planetarium will present “The Hot and Energetic Universe,” a 2016 full-dome film produced by the Integrated Activities in the High-Energy Astrophysics Domain. Trailer below! It will be preceded by a live planetarium sky tour presented by Hatter Planetarium staff. The show is free and the public is welcome. First-come, first-seated; the doors close when the show begins.

Coming Up! “The Sky this Month”

Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2:30 PM
Sunday, Nov. 5, at 4:00 PM
Thursday, Nov. 9, at NOON

Don’t wait another month to see our digital planetarium! We’ll be presenting THE SKY THIS MONTH this Sunday, Nov 5, at 2:30 and 4:00 PM, and then again Thursday, Nov. 9, at noon. Topics will include the LIGO merging neutron star discovery, a possible interstellar visitor (a space rock – not aliens), and the stars and planets of November. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Doors close when the show starts.

Coming up! “Two Small Pieces of Glass”

Sunday, October 15, at 2:30 and 4:00
Thursday, October 19, at 12:00 Noon

“Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope” is a full-dome video show that “follows two students as they . . .learn the history of the telescope” and explore “the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years.” BONUS:  our own livedemonstration on the current sky. Total time <40 minutes.

The show is free and all are welcome. Doors close when the show begins.

Upcoming Show: The Sky this Month

Sunday, October 1, 2:30 and 4:00
Thursday, October 5, at 12:00 Noon

Faculty and staff take note: We’ve brought back our weekday noon showing. No food and drinlk in the planetarium, but you should be out by about 12:40.

Visit our immersive, full-dome digital theater for a guided tour of the current night sky and a review of recent astronomy news. This month’s edition will include the astronomical roots of Halloween. This free program is a live presentation given by Hatter Planetarium director, Ian Clarke. The full fall schedule can be found here.

The Hatter Planetarium is located on the first floor of Masters Hall. The show is free and the public is welcome. First-come, first-seated; the doors close when the show begins.

Coming Up: “Constellations across the Cultures”

Written and produced by Hatter Planetarium students and staff, with insights from Gettysburg College faculty, this is our own full-dome show created in Spring 2017.
Sunday, September 17, at 2:30 and 4:00
Thursday, September 21, at 12 Noon.
You might look into the night sky and see a hunter, a bear, or a harp. But what about a drinking gourd, fish trap, or meat ant?  We’ll use the full-dome, immersive environment of the planetarium to explore what constellations are, the history of our familiar set, and how the same groups of stars have been imagined by different cultures at different times. Running time about 40 minutes, including a bonus live sky tour.
The Hatter Planetarium is located on the first floor of Masters Hall. The show is free and the public is welcome. First-come, first-seated; the doors close when the show begins.

Field Trip Request Form is Open for 2017-18

A local elementary school group.

We are now taking field trip requests from school and community groups for the 2017-18 academic year. Just complete this form on our web site. If you are a teacher or group leader, here are few things to keep in mind when thinking about shows for the 2017-18 academic year:

  • Our shows are all free!
  • Reserve as early as you can; demand gets heavier after the Christmas break, and our “season” ends in early May.
  • Our window for doing shows during weekday school hours will once again be Thursdays. Evenings and weekends are somewhat more flexible, depending on other demands on the space.
  • The capacity of the theater is 40 in seats or ~80 on the floor.
  • Outreach is an important mission of Gettysburg College’s planetarium, but it is not the primary one. Please be aware that you’re entering a working college environment, probably with classes in session in the building, and also that none of the staff works full-time on the planetarium
  • It’s AMAZING!

Fall 2017 Schedule of Shows

Announcing our fall schedule of public planetarium shows! All are free and open to the public in our immersive, digital planetarium theater in Masters Hall on the Gettysburg College campus. We’ll start with “The Sky this Month” on September 4. In addition to a look at what’s up in September, this show will include a segment on Gettysburgians’ experience of the 2017 solar eclipse, from campus to the path of totality.

We are bringing back a weekday noon show, now on select Thursdays, to give college employees more of a chance to visit our renovated planetarium (though these show are open to the public too). While you can’t eat in the planetarium, our show length of about 40 minutes should give you time to get a quick bite afterward.

In addition to the posting below, the schedule is available as a PDF, and all public shows are published on the college’s events calendar.

See you at the planetarium!

Hatter Planetarium Schedule
Fall 2017

The Sky this Month

  • September 3, 2:30
  • September 3, 4:00
  • September 7, Noon


Constellations across the Cultures

  • September 17, 2:30
  • September 17, 4:00
  • September 21, Noon


The Sky this Month

  • October 1, 2:30
  • October 1, 4:00
  • October 5, Noon


Two Small Pieces of Glass

  • October 15, 2:30
  • October 15, 4:00
  • October 19, Noon


The Sky this Month

  • November 5, 2:30
  • November 5, 4:00
  • November 9, Noon


The Hot and Energetic Universe

  • November 12, 2:30
  • November 12, 4:00
  • November 16, Noon


The Sky this Month

  • December 3, 2:30
  • December 3, 4:00
  • December 7, Noon


Pennsylvania Eclipse in the 30s?

Was there a solar eclipse that a south-central Pennsylvania school child might have seen around 1935? First, my apologies to the gentleman who asked this question at our pre-eclipse show on August 13. He remembers smoking glass in prepartion for viewing the event. [Don’t do this, kids! Keep your quality-controlled, ISO-certified solar glasses.] Anyway, I intended to post an answer that week, but before I could research, NASA redirected all its web eclipse traffic to their “eclipse 2017” site. But now the information is back. Here is the map of North American total eclipses of the sun from 1901-1950.


So there was no total eclipse in south-central PA through the whole period. The famous New York total eclipse of 1925 would have been partial here, but surely too early for our audience member’s recollection. For further data we can turn to NASA’s online JAVASCRIPT SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPLORER.  It’s fun! And it reveals three or four candidates. The August 31, 1932 eclipse (path of totality on the map above) would have been 88% partial here, so that is a possibility. Next chronologically is a partial eclipse on February 3, 1935. With 31% obscuration it’s worth observing and it’s the year our guest remembered. On April 19, 1939 locals would have seen an 8% obscured sun. I am not sure that would have been worth getting school kids exicted about. Finally April 7, 1940 brought an annular eclipse to some parts of the country. It would have been 61% partial in south central Pennsylvania.

I hope this helps, sir!


New Seating Option

Avarte Funktus Auditorium Chair

There are Funktus amongst us! Beginning with the eclipse shows on August 13 and 14, there will be a new seating option at the Hatter Planetarium. Ten of these Avarte Funktus auditorium chairs were part of the original plan for the summer 2016 renovation, but tracking them down and acquiring them proved a bit of a challenge. They arrived this week, and you’ll find them in the back row at public shows. Feel free to sit there if you prefer a more traditional seat than our rolling classroom seats. When the planetarium is in classroom mode, the new seats can be stored out of sight.