Planetarium

The Berea College Weatherford Planetarium was first set up in 1985. Equipped with a Minolta MS-10 projector, management and operation of the Weatherford Planetarium is part of the physics department at Berea College in Berea, KY. It houses an analog, opto-mechanical star projector supported by an ancillary system of 5 slide projectors, a video projectors and special effect projectors located around the circumference of the dome.

The Planetarium theater seats 51 people and it currently provides shows for school groups, home-school, and children outside of school, adults and students studying astronomy, navigation and space science.

Directions

The Weatherford Planetarium is located at Room 108, Hall Science Building, Berea College, Berea, KY.

Contact

To schedule shows, viewing or other events at the planetarium please contact Alice Hooker. You can request for sky shows, special viewings of the planetarium shows, as well as any other events that might be well suited for a planetarium. Please remember that no food or drinks are allowed in the planetarium.

The planetarium is available for school and community groups by appointment, with at least one week notice.

History

The planetarium was first set up in 1985. It was named after Willis D. Weatherford, president of Berea College from 1967 to 1984.


The planetarium hosts a show the third Sunday of every month during the academic year (September through May). Each show runs for about half an hour. The shows are open to the public. The planetarium has the following shows, which run based on the schedule. For special viewing of any of these shows, see the contact page.

Berea Skies

Hubble Vision 2

Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has provided incredible images in unprecedented detail to astronomers, and made an astonishing array of discoveries — from nearby objects in the solar system to the most distant galaxies at limits of the observable universe. This show brings together the best and most exciting Hubble images and woven them into an engaging story of cosmic exploration, bringing the wonders of the universe to audiences everywhere. HUBBLE Vision 2 is a fascinating tour of the cosmos — from Earth orbit. HUBBLE Vision 2 is a factual journey through the universe, as seen through the unblinking eye of one of the world's premier telescopes.

Light Years from Andromeda

Light Years From Andromeda teaches the concepts of light speed, the light year and how astronomers use them to measure distances to some familiar celestial objects — the Moon, the Sun, the planets, nearby stars, and galaxies. The show briefly touches on the properties of light that help determine a star's age and temperature, and gives a fascinating look at how light and distance allow us to "look back" further in time as we gaze farther into space.

Sky Watchers of Africa

For thousands of years, Africans have used their knowledge of the sky to build their societies, shape their spiritual lives, and meet their physical needs for survival. Skywatchers of Africa highlights the diversity of African astronomy, examines cultural uses of the sky that developed throughout history, and celebrates our shared human experience.

Sky Tellers

For years, people have looked to the sky with wonder and awe. Our natural curiosity has compelled us to understand the nature and origins of what we see. Long ago, people explored the sky with the help of storytellers, who piqued their imagination with fanciful tales of heroes and trouble-makers. Today, we turn to science and scientists to help us explore the nature and origin of the universe around us. SkyTellers shows us a connection between the two, with science being a continuation of discovery motivated by the same wonder and curiosity driving the storytellers of long ago. Each program includes a Native American story told by a native storyteller. Each of these stories is presented in audio format only in order to encourage the audience's imagination. The Native American story is followed by a "science story" -- a scientific explanation of the related concept, accompanied by simple illustrations to aid in understanding the concept.

Clouds of Fire

This show examines many different questions about the stars, about what they are, how they are formed, why they have different colors, as well as exploring many of the wonders of space including nebulas and galaxies.