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Physics & Astronomy

College of Arts & Sciences

WELCOME to the Harry C. Vaughan University of Wyoming Planetarium

Summer of Astronomy Activity Challenge: Eclipse 2017 Edition

It is the time of year for our second annual Summer of Astronomy Activity Challenge: Eclipse 2017 Edition!  To download and print the activity book, click here*.  For tips on safely viewing the Sun and the upcoming eclipse, click here.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions at or call 307-766-6506.

*Please note, we will not have pre-printed activity books.

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.


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.

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: Every Friday at 9 pm, enjoy 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


This month at the UW Planetarium welcomes a new season and the unique stargazing opportunities this summer brings to us in Wyoming.  Join us to discover new seasonal constellations, Saturn at opposition, the Sun reaching its highest point in our daytime sky, and so much more.


Tuesday June 27th

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

As the months and seasons change here in Wyoming, new 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 June 30th

8:00pm  Greek Mythology                            Duration: 50 minutes

Ancient civilizations used the night sky as a clock, calendar, and story board for their unique mythologies.  The 88 constellations that piece our sky together are dominated by Ancient Greek Mythology and the heroes, villains, gods, and men that feature in Grecian myths.  Tonight we will connect the dots to discover the characters that lie in these constellations and help astronomers navigate the night sky.

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


This month brings a lot of activity to the UW Planetarium.  Our second annual Summer of Astronomy Activity Challenge is in full swing; see our website to download our Activity Book, discover stargazing opportunities for the summer, and win fun prizes!  We are also fully immersed in preparations for shows and activities designed to introduce audiences to the Great American Eclipse, coming up on Monday August 21st.  And this month, we will offer shows dedicated to exploring the planet, solar system, galaxy, and universe around us.  There is a lot to do and see this summer at the planetarium and under the Wyoming skies!

Note:  The planetarium will be closed on Tuesday the Fourth of July for Independence Day

Friday July 7th

8:00pm  Our Closest Star                              Duration:  50 minutes

What is Earth's closest star?  It is the Sun, only 8.5 light-minutes away from our small blue planet!  Many of us tend to not give proper reverence to the massive ball of nuclear fusion at the center of our Solar System.  In this show, we will travel 93 million miles to 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!  Tonight we will pay the Sun the respect it deserves by discussing what it is and the many ways it affects us here on Earth --- both good and bad.

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

Saturday July 8th

11:00am    Moons!                                         Duration: 40 minutes + Flexible Activity Time

Not just craters, but methane lakes, volcanoes of ice, deep chasms, and vast oceans!  Celebrate Summer and the stargazing nights it brings by experienceing the biggest playground in the Solar System:  the planetary moons! After the show, we will discover the reasons for our own Moon's phases and the role the lunar orbit plays in the upcoming solar eclipse.

Tuesday July 11th

7:00pm  This Month's Sky                              Duration: 50 minutes

As the months and seasons change here in Wyoming, new 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.

Firday July 14th

8:00pm  Gaia                                                   Duration:  50 minutes

The ancient Greek word Gaia means "land" or "earth" when translated to modern English.  The mythological figure Gaia was the mother of existence and represents our home planet.  Tonight we will take a closer look at our Mother Earth and the role she plays in the creation and maintenance of life on the planet.

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

Tuesday  July 18th

7:00pm  Phantom of the Universe:  The Hunt for Dark Matter        Duration:  30 minutes

Phantom of the Universe is an exciting exploration of dark matter, from the Big Bang to its anticipated discovery at the Large Hadron Collider.  This new full-dome planetarium movie reveals the first hints of dark matter's existence through the eyes of Fritz Zwicky, the scientist who coined the term "dark matter".  It describes the astral choreography witnessed by Vera Rubin in the Andromeda galaxy and then plummets deep underground to see the most sensitive dark matter detector on Earth.  From there, it journeys across space and time to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, speeding alongside particles before they collide in visually stunning explosions of light and sound, all while learning how scientists around the world are collaborating to track down the constituents of dark matter.  Tonight, audiences explore all that we know and all there is still to learn about the Phantom of the Universe.

Friday  July 21st

8:00pm  Overcoming Armageddon                          Duration:  50 minutes

Popular science fiction movies such as Deep Impact and Armageddon explore the danger posed on the Earth by wayward space rocks.  Just ask the dinosaurs, the impact could be catastrophic.  But in modern society, armed with modern technology how could we protect ourselves from an incoming comet or asteroid?  Tonight we will take an in-depth look into the creation and behavior of these small cosmic bodies and discover why studying something so small can forever change our understanding of the Earth's future.

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

Saturday  July 22nd

Closed for regular maintenance; we apologize for any inconvenience.  If you have questions or need to redeem activity challenges for prizes, please email us at

Tuesday  July 25th

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

As the months and seasons change here in Wyoming, new 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  July 28th

8:00pm   The Great American Eclipse 2017                 Duration:  50 minutes

A rare and extraordinary event is coming this summer:  a Total Eclipse of the Sun on August 21st, 2017.  Join us tonight for an interactive show about the solar eclipse phenomenon:  the Sun/Earth/Moon system, why eclipses are extraordinary, what astronomers are hoping to discover, and how to safely view the partial or total solar eclipse.  Tonight, we will discuss everything you need to know about the 2017 Great American Eclipse.

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


Information for Groups:

School field trips are $50.  All other 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:

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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