Triple Transit of Jupiter


Friday January 23rd something is going to happen that won’t happen again until 2032! If you can find a break in the clouds bring out your telescopes and fix them on Jupiter. Jupiter will be rising shortly after sunset and will be the brightest object in the Eastern sky. Through a telescope Jupiter looks like a small disk cut with faint parallel bands. Another unmistakable feature of Jupiter is the presence of its four companions that appear as tiny pricks of light on either side.  These four companions, discovered almost exactly 405 years ago are the Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

As Galileo discovered in January of 1610, these moons are continually dancing around Jupiter in neat little orbits, but Friday night’s dance will be particularly interesting.  It starts at 7:11 pm (PST) when the shadow of Callisto begins to fall on the face of Jupiter.  Io and Europa wait on stage right.  At 8:35 Io’s shadow also appears on Jupiter followed by Europa’s at 10:27 pm.  For about 25 minutes all three shadows will appear on the Jupiter’s cloud tops!

If you have a bigger telescope you should also be able to see the planets themselves pass in front of Jupiter.  Again all three will be cross at the same time from 11:08 -11:12 pm.

If you live in the South Sound area chances are the weather won’t cooperate but you can see a live stream from the Griffith Observatory (in Los Angeles, CA).  You can also stop by the all-ages Science Dome show at 7 pm on Friday night to see a simulation of the even in the dome.

Celestial Celebrations Around the World!


Celestial Celebrations Around the World

THURSDAY December 4th,  2-4 pm 

Join us for several different Celestial Celebrations.  Programming includes.

  • Pale Blue Dot Culture, Josh Bero
  • African Dances for the Days and Seasons, Shalom Aburu
  • Skies and Superstitions, Steven Cagle
  • Native American Sky Stories, Sasha Amador
  • Music and the Stars, Adrian Milanio
  • Digital Design Showcase, Pierce College Digital Design Students

The program will begin at 2 pm with an intermission about half way through.  If you arrive during a presentation we may ask you to wait outside the dome until the next presentation so  the presenter is not interrupted.  Presentations last between 10 and 30 minutes


Family Science Night – November 21st

FamilyScienceNightJoin Central Washington University students in the Science Dome lobby for FREE hands on science activities for kids of all ages!  Activities begin at 5:30 pm, Friday November 21st.

Activities include:

  • Graham Cracker Earthquakes
  • Starburst Rock Cycle
  • Creating Crazy Craters!
  • Fossil Dig

Followed at 7PM by the Pierce College Science Dome All-Ages Public Planetarium Show featuring the video Dynamic Earth, $3 Child, $6 Adult.

Legends in the Sky, A new Children’s Show!


Long ago bedtime stories weren’t written in books, they were written in the stars!  Join us as we read the stories in the night sky from ancient cultures around the globe.

Legends in the Sky is starting at the Science Dome this weekend (November 8th) and will run through November and December.  Recommended for children ages 3-8.

Hoping for good weather…

Partial Eclipse, Credit and Copyright: Fred Espenak

Partial Eclipse, Credit and Copyright: Fred Espenak

On October 23rd there will be a partial solar eclipse!  We will be outside the Science Dome with SAFE ways to view the eclipse from 1-4 pm.  Please do not try just looking at the sun.  Not enough of the sun will be blocked and you will hurt your eyes if you try.

Stop by the dome – rain or shine – and pick up a pair of eclipse glasses or sneak a peak at the sun through our solar filter equipped telescopes.  If the clouds trick us out of this special treat we will have a live stream of the eclipse from a sunny location.

We will also have 20 minute presentations by Steven Cagle in the dome at 1:15 pm, 2 pm and 3:45 pm * on everything you ever wanted to know about solar eclipses: when and why they happen, all of the different types and where you have to be to see them.  Best part… all of it is FREE!

*If it is cloudy we’ll repeat these presentations a little more frequently adding in additional times of 1:35, 2:30, 3:10.

Are you afraid of the dark?

On a dark night telescopes can reveal some downright spooky images.  Come to the Science Dome this weekend to find out what is lurking in the skies above us!  Josh Bero will be presenting “Dark Skies” on Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 3:15 pm.  This live talk will be followed by the video “Sea Monsters.



Sea Monsters – Be transported to the Late Cretaceous, when a great inland sea divided North American in two.  This film follows a curious and adventurous dolichorhynchops as she travels through the most dangerous oceans in history.  Along the way, she encounters long-necked plesiosaurs, giant turtles, enormous fish, fierce sharks, and the most dangerous sea monsters of all, the mosasaur.  This film weaves together a series of paleontological digs from around the globe in a compelling story about scientists working to answer questions about this ancient and mysterious ocean world.  A film produced by Lisa Truitt and Jini Durr.

The Stellar Graveyard and Flying Monsters


This week’s spook-tacular show is “The Stellar Graveyard” presented by Mark VanWart.  In this show we will explore the ghosts surrounding us in the sky as we meet stars in the afterlife.  We will see ghostly planetary nebulae, vampire stars, the still beating heart of a pulsar and unending black holes. This half hour talk will be followed by the video “Flying Monsters”.

Just as dinosaurs began their domination of Earth, pterosaurs ruled the prehistoric skies. Some with wingspans as long as a modern jet plane, these flying reptiles were as spectacular in appearance as they were amazing in flight.

Join world-renowned naturalist and documentary filmmaker David Attenborough as he recounts the fascinating story of how we humans first discovered that these creatures were real and how they were even able to get off the ground and indeed soar… until their sudden disappearance from Earth. A film produced by Anthony Geffen.

Friday October 10th @ 7 pm

Saturday October 11th @ 3:15 pm  

$3 per child 3-18.  $6 per adult. Cash only at the door.

Eventbrite - Stellar Graveyard with Video Flying Monsters

Lunar Eclipse Tonight!


We’ve had a lot of excitement around the lunar eclipse that is happening tonight (or very early tomorrow morning if you prefer.)   The peak of the eclipse is at 3:55 am October 8, 2014.  So we have decided to offer a special Blood Moon program tonight for those who may have missed the presentations this past weekend.

The Science Dome program explaining what happens during a Lunar Eclipse aka a “Blood Moon” will be TONIGHT October 7th at 7 pm. It will be followed by the video Chasing the Ghost Particle.  Admission is $3 for children or Pierce College students and $6 for Adults.  Cash only at the door.

We will not be at the dome during the eclipse since it is so early in the morning but may have telescopes out after the show at about 8 pm to look at the full moon.