Community celebrates planetarium reopening • United States Air Force Academy

The community celebrates the reopening of the Planetarium

By Rachelle Stoll, Strategic Communications

Pictures of Joshua Armstrong

An audience looks at the galaxy in the Planetarium’s hemispherical dome on May 7, 2022.

US AIR FORCE ACADEMY, COLO., – Cadets, base employees, local community members and their families celebrated the official reopening of the planetarium at the United States Air Force Academy with an open house on May 7, 2022 .

More than 1,500 people were in attendance for the celebration, which included live stargazer shows, food trucks, a glider display and an inflatable planetarium. The Bird mascot welcomed guests to the area while the Academy’s falconry team showed off four live falcons and answered questions from attendees.

Ziva, a hybrid Gyr-Saker falcon, spreads her wings and delights guests as the Planetarium reopens on May 7, 2022.

A young guest admires one of four live falcons on display at the May 7, 2022 open house.

The planetarium was built in 1959 and is one of the oldest structures in the Academy. A comprehensive refurbishment in 2019 updated the interior to include reclining theater seats, digital surround sound and an impressive array of 8K projectors providing an immersive 360 ​​degree experience.

Visitors had limited access to the planetarium during the COVID-19 pandemic and the extensive construction of the Harmon Hall parking lot. The open day marks the return of the Planetarium to its regular activities and welcomes 45,000 visitors each year. Its extensive STEM outreach program provides educational opportunities to approximately 5,000 local K-12 students each year.

Planetarium administrator and astronomer Remy Morgan is a space enthusiast and is enthusiastic about the interactive nature of astronomer flybys. She encourages visitors and students to ask as many questions as they want during these shows.

“We look and learn about the night sky and the constellations, see the planets and learn all about them, and see the universe as a whole to get a sense of scale,” Remy said. “No two shows will be the same as they are directed at the audience and I think viewers will appreciate that live aspect.”

Live Astronomer Flybys take place regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:30 p.m. STEM-related movies will air at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on those days.

Educators can schedule field trips and STEM shows on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please email [email protected] to schedule.

For the most up-to-date information, including film screenings and schedule changes, head to the Planetarium page.

More photos of the planetarium reopening available in our Flickr album.

Glider exhibition Doors open at the Planetarium

Overview of an astronomer at the Planetarium

Food trucks Planetarium Open House

The open house included a display of cadet gliders, stargazer flyovers and food trucks on May 7, 2022.

Arline J. Mercier