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Physics & Astronomy|College of Arts & Sciences

WELCOME to the Harry C. Vaughan University of Wyoming Planetarium

Summer Astronomy Challenge!

This summer, the planetarium is having a Summer Astronomy Activity Challenge.  Complete the fun activities in our activity book to win awesome prizes!  Running now through September 10th.  Click here to join in on the fun!

Now offering online ticket sales!              

Doors open 20 minutes before show.  There is no admittance once the show starts.

All pre-purchased tickets must be purchased before noon on the Friday of the show. This includes pre-purchased tickets for the Saturday shows. Tickets can be purchased through the following three methods:

Tickets can be purchased at theater (cash or check only); $3 for student and $4 for non-students. Tickets for children under 5 are free.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Physics Department main office in Physical Science room 204 Monday through Thursday from 8-5 and Friday from 8 -4.  We can only accept cash or checks in person. 

Tickets can also be purchased online. Please note that all online tickets are $4, but kids under 5 are still free. Tickets can be picked up at the door 15 minutes prior to the show. Click here to buy tickets online.

Laser light shows will be shown on the 1st Friday of every month at 9:10pm and they are a separate charge from the planetarium show at 8:00.

Tour of STAR Observatory: Weeks without laser light shows will feature an optional Rooftop Telescope Tour! After the planetarium show (and weather permitting) you are invited to the roof of the Physical Science building where you can look through our 16 inch STAR (Student Teaching And Research) Observatory. Please dress warm! The tours will be very informal and you may stay for as long as you like or leave at any time. Tours are free.

We are offering kid themed shows on Saturdays followed by free activities for those interested in staying.  Please note the days.

We are glad to have such a range of young children for our kid-themed shows! Parents, please understand that it can get a little noisy and chaotic at times with so many young kids in a darkened room. We appreciate any help in making these shows enjoyable for all!

Show Schedule


May at the UW Planetarium welcomes the warm weather of spring!  In addition to hosting more evenings up at the STAR Observatory, we will be moving our shows back an hour so that we can showcase and appreciate the many celestial wonders of the season.  Join us this month to explore the wonders of the night sky and our place in the universe! 

Please note:  Starting in May, Friday evening shows will begin at 8 pm.

Friday, May 27th

8pm Pale Blue Dot

The Earth may feel very big, but how does it compare in size to other objects in our solar system?  Or to the entire universe?  In this show we will start from the small blue dot that we call home, and continue on to discover the overall size of our universe.  Find out how the size of the Earth compares to other planets, to the size of the Sun, to the size of the Milky Way, and to the overall size of the universe.

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory


The nights are shortest this month, but warmer evenings make stargazing a popular activity.  On clear nights, you may be able to spot stars, constellations, planets, perhaps even a shooting star.  These are our neighboring cosmic objects, and there is much to explore within them and beyond.  From our planetary neighborhood to the entirety of the universe, this June at the planetarium explores the vastness of space around us.


Friday, June 3rd  

8pm  Layers of the Solar System

The components and intricacy of our solar system are marveling to any onlookers.  From the center of the Sun, to the planets and minor planets, and out to the Heliosphere (the furthest known boundary of the solar system), tonight we will discover what makes up our solar system and how our solar system works as a whole!

9:10pm Laser Light Show: Best of U2

Saturday, June 4th

11am  Moons!

Not just craters, but methane lakes, volcanoes of ice, deep chasms, and vast oceans!  Celebrate Summer and the stargazing nights it brings by experiencing the biggest playground in the Solar System: the planetary moons!  After the show, you will have a chance to experiment with making your own crater!


Friday, June 10th  

8pm  Death of the Universe

Whether in a cosmic boom or a stellar implosion, eventually our universe will come to an end.  But the physical forces that determine the existence of our universe will also determine its eventual fate.  Tonight introduces the end of everything and the forces that will bring it about.  Note: This show may be unsuitable for some children

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory


Friday, June 17th  

8pm Gravity Waves, 100 Years After Einstein

Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity a century ago, and like any good theory it provided many testable predictions including gravity waves.  These gravity waves are ripples in the curvature of space-time that are generated when massive objects move.  This presentation will provide an overview of gravity waves and their exciting recent experimental confirmation.

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory


Saturday, June 18th

11am  Constellations for Beginners

Constellations for Beginners is an introduction to the tales told by the ancient Greeks that created our favorite constellations.  Join us for an interactive star-walk through the night sky and the stories and tales that piece it together.  Then after the show, create your own constellation and get a stellar prize!


Friday, June 24th 

8pm Dwarf Planets

There are at least five, and likely hundreds of objects in our Solar System that don't quite fit the definition of "planet." One of the most controversial topics in the astronomical community is the distinction between “planet” and these smaller solar system bodies.  Pluto, once the 9th planet in our solar system, is the most famous of these controversial objects.  Tonight we will explore Pluto and the other lesser known members of the planetary minor leagues.

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory




Information for Groups:

All private shows will be $50. Payments can be made by cash, check, voucher or IDR.  Sorry, we cannot accept credit cards.

The University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium is a great place to bring your class, club, or entire grade.

Our shows are typically one hour long although it is very easy for us to modify the time as needed.

Learning about the planets or stars? Constellations? Galaxies? Let us know and we can cater our shows to your topic. We also always offer general sky shows for a great introduction to astronomy.

Please call 307-766-6150 or email for more information or to set up a show.

For parking information please contact Transit and Parking Service at 307-766-9800 or visit their webpage at:


The University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium is located in the basement of the Physical Science building. Enter the Physical Science building at the SW entrance, go down the stairs and follow the signs pointing to the planetarium.

University of Wyoming map:

Physical Science is located at D 10 in the above map.

About Harry C. Vaughan:

The planetarium has been renamed in honor of the Windy Ridge Foundation’s owner, who was a professor of meteorology in the Iowa State Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences. Vaughn taught courses in meteorology, earth sciences and agronomy there. Before teaching at Iowa State, he worked at the Ames Laboratory.

Upon retirement, Vaughn moved to Laramie, where he befriended a number of faculty members in UW’s Department of Atmospheric Science. He devoted his time to his love of astronomy and built a personal observatory in his backyard to make his own astronomical observations and also mentored UW students.


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Animal Shelter Donation
Funds from the telescope raffle were used to purchase food and toys for the Laramie Animal Shelter.

Animal Shelter Donation

Animal Shelter Donation
One of the recipients of the Animal Shelter donation.
Planetarium Wall

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