Learn about the stars with the Ward Beecher Planetarium

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Spectators under the Planetarium ceiling.

BackToTheMoon If you’re looking for something fun to do on the weekends, head over to the Ward Beecher Planetarium! The planetarium offers many different shows open to the public, and best of all, they’re free! That’s right! Free.

The planetarium opened in the late ‘60s and has been putting on free shows ever since. Planetarium engineer Curt Spivey said that they have a variety of shows, and that each show plays for a month, so you have plenty of chances to see them.

“The key is variety. We want to find shows that are popular but also informative,” Curt said.

Showtimes include 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for general audiences and shows at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays for younger viewers.

One of the most popular planetarium shows is “Cosmic Castaways,” which is shown for high school field trips.

“Cosmic Castaways is a show we produced here in-house based on the work of Dr. Feldmeier and Dr. Durrell. We already have it in 70 planetariums in 17 countries, but our final step to getting it done is to create a Spanish script and have a Spanish speaker speak the script to get the show into more places.”

Another show made at YSU was “George and Oatmeal Save Santa,” which was a popular holiday show. This year, George and Oatmeal are being replaced by “The Alien Who Stole Christmas,” a show that lets you tour the winter sky with Santa and alien Mr. Feep as they try to meet the needs of Christmas Eve.

A new show for November is “Back to the Moon for Good.”

“‘Back to the Moon for Good’ is about the Google Lunar XPrize. Google is offering money for the first team that can land a robot on Mars, drive it 500 meters, send back pictures and data from the moon. [The first team to do that] will receive $30 million from Google, and it’s [Google’s] incentive to start exploring the moon again,” Curt said. “It’s a way to get people to privately explore space.”

A list of public showings can be found at wbplanetarium.org. When you’re looking to take a break from studying, explore space with the Ward Beecher Planetarium!