Out Of This World: The Planetarium At RVCC

Calling all stargazers! The Planetarium at Raritan Valley Community College lets visitors journey into outer space with a state-of-the-art, all-dome experience that’s open to the public and seats 100 guests. Using the SkySkan DigitalSky digital system, we’re able to recreate the day and night skies from here on Earth, or anywhere else. Come discover the mysteries of our solar system, the galaxy and deep space at this campus gem.

Public Shows

From preschool-friendly educational shows to Pink Floyd laser shows, the Planetarium at RVCC offers a variety of astronomy events for all ages. All shows run 40 minutes and cost $8 for one show and $14 for two shows on the same day. Reservations are highly recommended by calling 908-231-8805. We advise that guests arrive 20-30 minutes before show time, as reservations are held for 10 minutes before the start of the show. Click here to view show schedule, descriptions and recommended ages.

Sensory-Friendly Shows

The Planetarium offers special astronomy and music shows designed for families with children on the autism spectrum or those with developmental disabilities. These sensory-friendly shows, which are appropriate for audiences of all ages, will provide a comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming to all families. During the show, the doors will remain open so children may freely leave and return if they choose. Lights will be left dim (instead of dark) and the audio will be lowered and kept at a consistent level. To learn more and view the show schedule, click here.

3M Observatory

Our 3M Observatory is open on Saturday nights from 7-10 pm, weather permitting. Located on the hill outside the Planetarium, adjacent to Parking Lot 7, it features a domed observatory—which houses a 16” Meade telescope—and a roll-off-roof observatory, which features a 14” Celestron telescope. In addition, the Planetarium has other portable telescopes in a variety of sizes that can be brought out for observing events. Learn more about the 3M Observatory here.

Special Events

From time to time, the Planetarium hosts themed shows to coincide with holidays or other special occasions. Coming up for Valentine’s Day is “Romancing the Stars,” a light-hearted look at the Universe with stars, constellations, songs and stories to celebrate love. There will be two showings for this event: One on Saturday, February 10 at 7 p.m. and one on Wednesday, February 14 at 7 p.m. Click hereto learn more about this “date night at the Planetarium”—and be sure to check back for future special events.

School Programs

The Planetarium offers fun, educational programs for student groups ranging in age from preschool through high school.

  • Field Trips: Designed to help young people discover the wonders of the universe, our shows allow students to travel through time and space to explore exploding nebulas, mysterious black holes and other solar system wonders. Field trips are offered Monday-Friday from September-May, and Monday-Thursday from June-August. Minimum group size is 15. To learn more about planning a field trip—and to view suggested programs by age range—click here.
  • Starlab Portable Planetarium: Can’t come to us? We’ll come to you! Our traveling Planetarium can bring the stars down to the Earth—and to your school. The Planetarium’s astronomy expert will set up an amazing inflatable dome in your gym or multi-purpose room. Up to four classes per day will spend 45 minutes with our astronomer studying the constellations, planets and other wonders of the night sky. For more on the Starlab Portable Planetarium, click here.

Gift Shop

The Planetarium gift shop features a large selection of science and astronomy books, posters, post cards, pencils & pens, star charts, magnets, astronaut ice cream, freeze dried cinnamon apple wedges and strawberries. Most items range in price from fifty cents to $5.

Contact

Located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ, the Planetarium office is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Contact them by phone at 908-231-8805, or email planet@raritanval.edu. To sign up for the Planetarium’s monthly newsletter, click here.

About RVCC

We’re #1! We’re #1! Raritan Valley Community College has been ranked the #1 community college in New Jersey by both BestColleges.com and Niche.com. We offer top degree/certificate programs and career training for students in Somerset County or Hunterdon County, NJ. To learn more about RVCC, check out an upcoming Information Session.