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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


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 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


July is a month for bright, colorful nights. Fireworks, meteor showers, planets, and more light up the warm summer evenings.  And there’s more to see of the summer night sky at the UW Planetarium.  Join us this month as we discover the wonders of our solar system, mankind’s exploration throughout time and space, and the mysteries of the universe.


Friday, July 1st   

8pm  American Astronomy

Everyone knows that Americans were the first nationality to walk on the moon. But did you know that they are the only nationality to walk on the moon? Or that America played significant roles in astronomy even before the constitution was written!? Tonight will introduce the history and impact that America has wielded in astronomy and how it's benefiting you now!

9:10pm Laser Light Show: Country USA


Saturday, July 2nd  

11am  Earth, Sun, and Moon

The Earth, Sun, and Moon are mankind’s most important solar system objects. The Earth is our home, the Sun provides us with light and energy, and the Moon is our inspiration for exploration.  From the seasons on Earth to gigantic solar flares from the Sun, this show will explore all three giant objects and how they interact with each other.  Join us on the roof after to show to use a special (Sun safe) telescope so you can look at the Sun and Moon for yourself!


Friday, July 8th   

8pm  Science & Science Fiction

We've all seen it in the science fiction movies - flying through space faster than the speed of light, traveling through wormholes, creating artificial intelligence… but is any of this science fiction actually science fact? In this show, we will explore the science of your favorite science fiction movies, books, and TV shows and see how science fiction inspires pop culture and real science.  From wormholes to robots, we will find the science in the science fiction!

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory


Friday, July 15th   

8pm Summer Skies

From the Summer Triangle adjacent to the Milky Way to views of deep-space objects near the center of our galaxy, Wyoming’s summer months lay claim to some of the most beautiful features of our night sky. Tonight’s in-depth star walk will familiarize audiences with the constellations, planets, and astronomical events of this year’s summer sky.
9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory


Saturday, July 16th

11am  Cold Stuff in Space

Ice caps, cryovolcanism, and liquid methane: outer space can get very, very cold!  Enjoy the break from a hot summer’s day, but try not to freeze during this exploration of the universe's coldest objects.  After the show, experience a refreshing treat colder than a January in Laramie: Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream!!


Friday, July 22nd

8pm Full Dome Movie: Back to the Moon for Good

Thanks to numerous landers and orbiters, mankind explored and learned a great deal about Earth’s closest neighbor in the 1960s and 70s.  But we haven’t been to the moon in over 40 years.  That is about to change.  The full dome feature, Back to the Moon for Good, follows numerous teams in competition to land on the moon and win the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE.  Designed to spark creativity and innovation in 21st century space travel, the XPRIZE is inspiring students and citizens to head back to the moon – for good.

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory


Friday, July 29th

8pm Cosmology

Are we at the center of the universe?  How did the universe begin, and how will it end?  What existed before the Big Bang?  Are there other universes?  What is dark matter, and how does it affect our existence?  Since antiquity, astronomers have continuously gained a greater understanding of our universe as they attempt to answer questions like these.  Tonight’s show will focus on astronomical exploration methods to explain how we know what we know.

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory


Saturday, July 30th

11am  Explore our Solar System

Sun, planets, and moons, oh my!  There is so much in the Earth’s cosmic neighborhood to explore!  Come with us as we travel our solar system in all its beauty and wonder. Then, join us after the show to build your own planet, moon, or even design your own solar system!




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.

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

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