In 2017, the Chesapeake Planetarium will celebrate its 54th 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.
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)
Planetarium Programs – Shows for 2017
“Earth to the Universe”
This will be the Chesapeake Planetarium’s premier showing of a full dome motion picture on the new digital projection system. Visitors will be taken on a historical journey from the earliest sta gazers to the world’s most advanced astronomers. At the end of the movie the current night sky will be discussed by the planetarium director.
“Patterns in the Sky”
In today’s star filled sky there are 88 constellations, but many other civilizations throughout history there have been thousands of unique sky patterns. Explore some of the wonderful star pictures and stories that have been part of those patterns in the sky.
View the wonders of the night sky while listing to stereophonic music in the planetarium star theater. Selections of classical and pop music will be reproduced on the planetarium’s powerful sound system as cosmic visuals dance before your eyes. This program allows your imagination to wander among the stars.
Planet Earth is covered with life. Living organisms can be found almost everywhere on the planet. What is the possibility that life exists elsewhere in the Universe? Explore the possibility and probability that we are not alone and one day aliens will be discovered.
“To the Edge of Space”
Take an imaginary journey to the end of the known Universe. We will use the new digital projection planetarium system to transport visitors through the stars at speeds faster than light into the darkness of space and beyond.
“The Mystery of Stonehenge”
More than 4000 years ago a tribe of barbarians built one of the most amazing structures on Earth, a large stone structure in the shape of a circle. This circle of stones may have been a pagan temple or the burial site of some important leader. It may have also been a Stone Age computer capable of predicting astronomical events. The true purpose is unknown. We will explore this stone circle in search of alignments of stars and planets.
July & August
“Total Solar Eclipse”
Tidewater residents will have the opportunity to view on of natures’ most specular events, a solar eclipse. The eclipse will occur on August 21st. This event will be observed across the entire United States but there are special conditions that will affect how you observe this amazing event. In order to see it as a total solar eclipse you will have to leave the Tidewater area, as we will not be in the path of totality. To understand how to view this event safely and where the best locations might be, visit the planetarium.
“Full Dome Experience”
Explore the Chesapeake Planetarium’s new digital HD projection capabilities. We will demonstrate how the new system is changing the way be view the sky and present school and public programs. Full dome movies and new visual effects will be on display.
“Seven Wonders of the Universe”
Explore all of the seven wonders of the ancient world, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Pharos Lighthouse. We will travel back in time to compare the seven wonders of the ancient wonders to seven wonders of the modern Universe.
“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 of the astronomical possibilities suggested for the most famous star in history.