Reopening of the Bechtel National Planetarium at Columbia Basin College since March 2020 | News

PASCO, WASH. – Like everything in the world, the CBC Bechtel National Planetarium closed its doors in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Now, after being closed for two years, the Planetarium is open again.

It started with a screening of Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity, narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson.

Planetarium and observatory director Erin Steinert says it’s been a long time, but they’re excited to reopen.

“A lot of people here today have never visited before and so they saw the news of the reopening and decided to take the plunge and I’m so glad they’re here,” she says, “with our visitors who have been here before.”

She tells me that every giveaway has the creative freedom to start the show.

Each show includes a 30-minute presentation on a variety of topics ranging from constellations to planets and solar systems.

Steinert says, “I know our customers have been looking forward to this day and I want to thank them for their patience and attention.”

Steinert told me that the planetarium showroom had completely closed. No private events. No specials. Nothing was open, so seeing that their first screening was sold out was gratifying.

The decision to reopen was made when the school felt it was safe and regulations allowed.

Although their maximum capacity is close to 100 people, Steinert says they cap out at 75 people to allow everyone to feel comfortable. Not only have they reduced capacity, but the Planetarium is inviting people to wear masks if they feel more comfortable doing so.

You can also purchase memberships through their website or in person. Tickets can only be purchased online and hurry as some shows are nearly sold out.

The CBC Planetarium offers a list of 19 feature films for the public to view every first and third Friday of the month at 7 p.m. and every second and fourth Saturday at 2 p.m.

This current list of movies is posted online for you to choose which one you want to attend.

Visit the Radio-Canada Planetarium website here.

Arline J. Mercier