In 2020, the Chesapeake Planetarium will celebrate its 58th year of operation. Construction funds for the planetarium were provided by the Chesapeake School Board as a result of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA). It was the first planetarium constructed in Virginia by a public school system. It was designed as a teaching aid for the school system, but has been made available to the general public as well. More than 50,000 students and adults visit the planetarium each year to view educational programs.
The Chesapeake Planetarium is located in the Chesapeake Municipal Center. It is easily reached by taking Interstate 64 and exiting at the Battlefield Boulevard South Exit (Rt. 168). Follow Route 168 to Great Bridge and turn right onto Cedar Road (Rt. 165).The Municipal Center is one-fourth mile on the right.
Public Programs: Programs are free but reservations are necessary – call 547-0153
On Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m., the general public is invited to attend free programs. These programs are provided as a free service of the Chesapeake Public School System. Topics for these programs change every month and are educational in nature. They are designed to give the individual a general overview of astronomy.
* It is recommended that children below the first grade level not be admitted to the planetarium chamber. All quiet children are welcome. Children that are not quiet will asked to be removed from the planetarium.
Due to limited seating, reservations are necessary and may be made by telephoning Chesapeake Public Schools between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. weekdays. (757-547-0153)
Note: Your reservations will cancel if arriving later than 7:50 p.m.
Note: Programs start promptly at 8:00 p.m. and late arrivals are not allowed to enter the dark theater.
Please make reservations for all program by calling 547-0153. The reservation desk will know of any additional closings if necessary.
Planetarium Public Programs
Programs for 2020
January – The Edge of Space
Take an imaginary journey from your backyard to the most distant objects in the Universe. We will travel across the Milky Way to other galaxies passing the great nebulas along our way. We will try to reach the speed of light on our journey.
February – Death of a Star
Stars have a “life cycle” based on their mass. Smaller less massive stars will last longer due to their slower fusion. At the end of a star’s life its fate may be one of the most powerful events in the Universe. We will examine the fate of our own star the Sun.
March – Cosmic Symphony
View the wonders of the night sky while listening to stereophonic music in the planetarium theater. Selections of classical and pop music will be played on the planetarium’s powerful sound system while cosmic visuals dance before your eyes. This program allows your imagination to wander among the stars.
April – Stars of Spring
The change of seasons brings in to view new constellations. As the Earth orbits the Sun we observe different stars throughout the year. In the spring the bright winter stars set in the western sky while the stars of spring rise in the east. We will explore the reasons for the seasonal changes in the sky.
May – Zodiac Signs
Explore the twelve constellations known as the Zodiac. Many believe that they are different from the other star patterns in the night. Are they really different? Why do these constellations receive more attention than the others? In this program we will view all twelve Zodiac constellations and try to understand what makes them unique.
June – The Mystery of Stonehenge
Examine a strange ring of giant rocks built almost 4,000 years ago by a tribe of barbarians. Some believe it was a pagan temple and others believe it was built as a Stone Age computer for the predictions of astronomical events. This program will examine the Stonehenge building site and demonstrate some of the astronomical alignments of these massive stones.
July & August – Summer Stars
The wonders of the summer sky will be the topic of this program. We will examine the summer constellations and some of the mythology associated with these stars. The program will also examine some of the celestial objects in the summer sky and demonstrate the methods of locating them with a small telescope or binoculars.
*The planetarium will be operating on a summer schedule. Call the reservations number for show dates and times.
September – Alien Planets
Astronomers have discovered more than 4,000 planets beyond our solar system. These planets will probably be very different from our own. We will explore how they were discovered and their differences.
October – Dragons Devouring The Sun
In ancient times it was believed during a solar eclipse a giant dragon was swallowing the Sun. It was feared the Sun would be lost forever. Explore what actually occurs during a solar eclipse and view images of past solar eclipses.
November – Winter Sky
Some of the brightest stars seen from Earth are visible in the winter sky. The constellations of this season are easy to identify. The mythology associated with them offers some of the best star stories found among the stars. Explore the crisp clear winter night sky this month in the planetarium star theater.
December – The Christmas Star
During the month of December the Chesapeake Planetarium sky will be set back more than 2000 years to the date of 8 B.C. Visitors will view the planets and stars as they were long ago. We will search the night sky for the story of a star that marked the coming of the Christmas season. We will also explore some of the astronomical possibilities suggested for the most famous star in history.
Public program start promptly at 8:00 p.m. Reservations are held until 7:50 p.m. Late arrivals are not admitted.