Prepare for Stargazing Season at the Ward Beecher Planetarium

The Ward Beecher Planetarium, delighting guests for 50 years!

Are you tired of the dark and cloudy skies of winter? Wait no longer for warm weather and clear skies to arrive and instead visit the Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University. With an always-clear sky filled with twinkling stars and an abundance of free programs offered to the public, the planetarium is the perfect alternative to trying to stargaze outside in the cold. When the weather does warm up you’ll be prepared with the knowledge to identify constellations and other stellar highlights.

Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University

Since its inception in 1967, the Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University has been an incredible asset to the University’s science department. Ward Beecher, a member of an early Youngstown family had always been interested in the development of the city and donated a generous sum of nearly $1.6 million to the expansion of the YSU science building, including the addition of the planetarium. Since it was originally built, the planetarium has improved its projection technology to provide the best star gazing experience possible. The Ward Beecher Planetarium is used by YSU astrology classes and also offers field trips and programs that are free and open to the public.

What it Offers
The Ward Beecher Planetarium hosts educational field trips for young students as well as programs open to the general public. Field trips can be scheduled at any point during the school week and coordinators can select from a wide variety of shows geared toward any age group, ranging from Pre-K to High School. In addition to these field trips, the planetarium offers an abundance of free programs open to the public. With signature shows, family shows, lecture series and special events there is never a shortage of activities at the planetarium. Some of the shows offered include Skywatch, featuring the current night sky & astronomical events, and Legends of the Night Sky: Orion, a family-friendly program that explores the Greek mythology behind some of the constellations.

Upcoming Shows and Programs
Interested in seeing what the planetarium has to offer? Come check out some of their upcoming shows and programs, free and open to the public! On Friday, March 24 the show Firefall will start at 8:00pm. Shows continue on Saturday, March 25 at 12:30pm, 2:00pm and 8:00pm. Featuring artwork and music from two Youngstown alums, this program features the comets and asteroids that have shaped Earth’s violent history. On Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1, you can enjoy the Spring Skywatch starting at 8:00pm featuring a live star talk and displaying a current depiction of the night sky. On April 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, 28 and 29, the planetarium will present Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity starting at 8:00pm featuring star births, galaxy collisions and a trip to the massive black hole lurking within our own Milky Way Galaxy. For the complete schedule of upcoming events, visit the Ward Beecher Planetarium website!

MetroParks Sky-Gazing
After the Ward Beecher Planetarium has made you a star aficionado, head to the MetroParks Farm on Saturday, April 1 for their Star Party starting at 8:00pm. Sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Astronomical Society and the MetroParks’ Recreation Department, this event allows attendees to view the beautiful night sky through high-powered telescopes. On April 1, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae and Jupiter will be in sight. If you have any questions regarding this event, contact the Ford Nature Center. Event is weather permitting.

Whether gazing comfortably indoors at the Ward Beecher Planetarium or experiencing the real deal at the MetroParks Farm, there are plenty of sky-gazing options in Youngstown. Don’t wait! Check your schedule and plan your first, or next, stellar event.

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