Summer Planetarium Movies

Zacheis Planetarium will be showing free double features every other Saturday at 3:00 and 3:45, throughout the summer starting on May 14.  The movies are open to the public, no reservations required, no charge for admission.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  For the complete summer schedule of movies, see the “Scheduled Public Shows” page.

Zacheis Planetarium’s first original full-dome movie completed

In July I finished the original full-dome movie “Fractal Explorations”, made entirely with free software available to everyone on the internet.  The movie is currently in distribution to planetariums around the country.  The Zacheis Planetarium premier will be on Saturday evening, Aug. 29, with three shows: 7:00, 7:45, and 8:30.  There will be free food and drinks, and I will be demonstrating the free software I used to generate many of the fractals shown in the movie.

Admission is free, as always, but it’s first-come, first-served. Tickets will be available at the planetarium when doors open at 6:30.

You can watch a preview on YouTube.

New Movies Posted

The “Movie Library” page has now been updated with the most recent new movies we added to our collection.  Teachers and other visiting groups can request any movie from our library, including the brand new ones (the first eleven in the list).  And as always, visits to Zacheis Planetarium are free of charge.  Contact our STEM Outreach Coordinator, Cindy Bervig ( to arrange your visit.

December Movies Announced

The new movies are starting to arrive. During the first three weeks of December, we will be showing only new movies!  Check out the schedule on the “Scheduled Public Shows” page.

Starting Dec. 20th, Zacheis Planetarium will be closed for the winter break. We will resume Thursday and Friday movies in January when classes start back up.  (January 22 and 23, to be exact!)

Partial Solar Eclipse Oct. 23

Lunar eclipses and Solar eclipses usually occur about two weeks apart:  a lunar eclipse will occur when the Moon is on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun and thus is full, and then a solar eclipse will occur two weeks later when the Moon is on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and thus is new.  (Of course, it can happen in the opposite order just as easily.)

That is the case right now.  We had a total lunar eclipse on Wednesday morning during Full Moon, and there will be a partial solar eclipse at the next New Moon, on Oct. 23.  Again, this is a partial solar eclipse: the Moon’s umbra will miss the Earth, and so we will only see part of the Sun’s disk blocked by the Moon – at greatest eclipse, about 52% of the Sun’s diameter will be covered, or about 41% of it’s area  (here in southern Colorado).

For those of us in Alamosa (and other towns in the San Luis Valley), the eclipse will begin at about 3:22 p.m. and end at about 5:45 p.m.  Greatest eclipse will occur at 4:38.  All times local (MDT).

Standard Warning:  NEVER look directly at the Sun, even during an eclipse.  It is bright enough to do severe and permanent damage to your eyes.  You can look directly at the Sun if you have appropriate “safe solar eclipse viewing glasses”, which you can find on the web.

Or you can come by the planetarium (NOT the observatory!) between 3:30 and 5:30 on Oct. 23.  We’ll have safe eclipse viewing glasses you can use, telescopes you can look through, and a projection of the Sun’s image so lots of people can look at once.