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Physics & Astronomy

College of Arts & Sciences

WELCOME to the Harry C. Vaughan University of Wyoming Planetarium

Tuesday evening shows!

The UW Harry C Vaughan Planetarium is excited to introduce our new Tuesday evening shows.  Tuesday evening shows will alternate between This Month's Sky and our featured Full Dome Movie and will be at 7 pm.

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.

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


It may be the end of the year, but December heralds the winter solstice: the shortest days of the year and the start to a new season.  Don’t fear the darkness; instead join us at the planetarium to experience the celestial gifts that are visible when the Sun goes down.


Friday December 2nd

8:00pm  The Red Planet                                                                                   Duration: 50 minutes

When visible, it appears as a bright red light in our night sky.  And that red light shines as an intriguing and exciting point of human curiosity and exploration.  Mars, the 4th planet from the Sun, has been the target of centuries of observation.  Only in recent years have we begun to get a complete picture of the Red Planet: as it was, is now, and could be in the future. Tonight will introduce audiences to mankind’s ongoing exploration of Mars!

9:00pm  FREE Tour of our STAR Observatory                               Duration: Weather Dependent


Saturday December 3rd

11:00am  Explore our Sun!                                              Duration: 90 minutes (Activity Included)

We see it every day, but have you ever wondered what that big ball of light in the sky REALLY is?  In this show, we will travel 93 million miles to the hottest place in the solar system -- the center of our Sun -- and back to the invisible force field that protects the Earth from the Sun’s destructive winds -- the Magnetic Field!  Join us this morning for the hottest show of the winter!

After the show, we will venture outside to safely view the Sun and hopefully catch a glimpse of a sun spot or solar flare!

Tuesday December 6th

7:00pm  This Month’s Sky                                                                                Duration: 45 minutes

As the months and seasons change here in Wyoming, new and different astronomical events occur in our nighttime sky.  No matter what time of year, there is always something to see after the Sun goes down.  From constellations to meteor showers to visible planets, This Month’s Sky acts as your guide to these remarkable events and where to find them.


Friday December 9th

8:00pm  From Bang to Bust                                                                             Duration: 50 minutes

Philosophers have tackled mankind’s difficult questions over the course of civilization, but ultimately the task of answering these questions has passed to scientists. Thanks to technological and scientific advances, only recently has a picture evolved of our universe: how it came to be, how it exists now, and how it all will end. Join us tonight for an introduction to cosmology- the study of the universe as a whole.

9:00pm  FREE Tour of our STAR Observatory                               Duration: Weather Dependent


Tuesday December 13th

7:00pm  From Earth to the Universe                                                               Duration: 30 minutes

The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.

Friday December 16th

8:00pm  Layers of the Solar System                                                                 Duration: 50 minutes

Everyone has heard of the Sun and eight planets (and Pluto) that comprise the solar system, but where does the solar system end?  What lurks in space out past Neptune and what crucial roles do these cosmic objects play in our lives? Tonight’s show unwraps the layers of the solar system, even the most unimaginable ones!

9:00pm  FREE Tour of our STAR Observatory                               Duration: Weather Dependent


Saturday December 17th

11:00am  An Introduction to Astronomy                          Duration: 90 minutes (Activity Included)

What constellations will be visible this winter break?  What ever happened to Pluto?  How many stars can we count in the night sky?  How big is the universe beyond those stars?  Today’s show will tackle these questions and more.  Perfect for aspiring astronomers and sky-gazers, we introduce you to the wonders of our solar system, galaxy, and universe beyond. 

After the show, you will have a chance to build your own Star Finder and bring knowledge of the beauty of our night sky home with you.


Information for Groups:

All private shows will be $50 for the first hour, $25 each additional hour. 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.


Animal Shelter Donation

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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