In 2019, the Chesapeake Planetarium will celebrate its 57th 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.
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: Programs start promptly at 8:00 p.m. and late arrivals are not allowed to enter the dark theater.
Planetarium Public Programs
Programs for 2019
Explore the world of astronomy in the planetarium star theater. Learn how to use a telescope and a star finder. Visitors will receive a star finder which they can easily assemble. It can be set for date and time to view a map of the night sky. After the program the planetarium’s large telescope will be available for viewing.
Orbit the Earth
Become a planetarium astronaut and take a voyage around the earth. We will view the Earth from orbit and zoom in on some of it’s most amazing places. Using the planetarium’s new digital Earth projecting system we will view our planet as the astronauts view it. The orbit time around our planet will only take 55 minutes.
View the wonders of the night sky while listening to the stereophonic music in the planetarium star 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.
Stars of Spring
Our Earth is moving around the sun at a speed of more than sixty six thousand miles per hour. Each day the Earth moves more than two million miles in its orbit. This change in our orbit position presents us with a different view of the night sky and the constellations. Explore the seasonal change of the stars as the Earth moves into spring.
Tour of the Planets
Take an imaginary trip to the planets in our solar system. We will explore each planet using some of the latest images taken by space probes and also examine some of the 200 + moons orbiting the planets.
Mystery of Stonehenge
Almost 4000 years ago a tribe of barbarians built a large stone structure for some unknown reason. The circle of stone may have been a pagan temple, burial site or maybe a Stone Age computer for predicting astronomical events. The circle of stones and their purpose has always been a mystery. We will explore the stone circle and search for alignments of stars and planets.
July and August*
The Summer Stars
The wonders of the summer sky will be this program topic. We will examine the summer constellations and some of the mythology associated with these stars. The program will also examine some celestial objects in the summer sky, and demonstrate methods of locating them with a small telescope or binoculars.
*The planetarium will be operating on a summer schedule. Call the reservation number for show dates and times.
The End of the World
The end of the world has been predicted many times. What could cause our planet to be either destroyed or to be uninhabitable? We will examine some of the possibilities that could change our planet forever.
The Astronomical Zodiac
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.
The Winter Sky
The winter sky offers some of the brightest stars visible from Earth. The constellations of winter are easy to identify and the mythology associated with them offers some of the best star stories found among the stars. Explore the crisp clear winter sky this month in the planetarium theater.
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 the astronomical possibilities suggested for the most famous star in history.