The Chronos star projector (purple object at the center) produces a crisp, brilliant star field. The SciDome (black block to the right of Chronos) projects all-dome video onto the 36-foot dome. Select the picture to get a larger version of this picture.
All evening shows begin at 7:30 PM on a Thursday evening given in the schedule below. Doors open at 7 PM for people to sit wherever they want. Doors are locked at 7:30 PM with no late admittance possible. Shows are one hour long. Tickets for all shows are $6.50/adult + $4.50/senior and children 5 to 12 yrs old. Tickets must be purchased from the BC Ticket Office ahead of time. Tickets for a given show will be available up to four weeks before a given show BUT after the previous show.
The William M Thomas Planetarium has a Chronos star projector from GOTO and a SciDome all-dome video system from Spitz installed under a Spitz premium-seam 36-foot dome. Individual seating for 72 people all facing toward the same direction under the largest dome (36-foot diameter) in all of the Central Valley.
Shows for public groups are by reservation only. Occasionally, there will be shows for the general public on a Thursday evening, but tickets must be purchased ahead of time. These special showings will be advertised on this website several weeks in advance and notices sent to the media at that time. Hopefully, the local news media will publish the notices we give them in a timely manner but these special showings usually sell out quickly. See below for information about the regular planetarium shows for public groups.
Planetarium morning shows for public groups (esp. school groups) will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:30 and 11 AM during the college's fall and spring semesters. Cost for a show is a special fieldtrip rate of $120 for the entire group and each presentation is about an hour long. Public groups may make planetarium morning show reservations now using the online reservation system. Teacher resources for space-related curriculum is available from the "Information for K12 schools" link below.
Planetarium evening shows for public groups can be most Tuesday or Thursday evenings by reservation only during the college's fall and spring semesters (excluding holidays and final exam weeks). However, they must be at a time when the Planetarium Director, Nick Strobel, is available to give the one-hour presentation. The rental cost is $400 for the entire group. The available shows are the same ones listed on the Field Trip Information and Tips page. Group sizes can be up to 72 people. The planetarium is closed during school holidays, final exam weeks, and the summer. After fixing a date with Nick Strobel, groups will need to process their reservation with the Event Scheduling department at least 30 working days (= 5 weeks) in advance. Finally, all groups are subject to the policies and procedures of the Business Services section in the KCCD Board Policy Manual (PDF document -- go to page 86 for Facilities usage). As a convenience, here is an excerpt from the Board Policy manual that deals with facilities usage (excerpt from Business Services Board Policy Manual as of December 9, 2010): link to Facilities Usage excerpt (PDF of p. 66 to 80). Contact the Event Scheduling department at 661-395-4518 for more information about facilities rental.
Opened in the fall of 1962 (and formally dedicated in early January 1963), the William M Thomas Planetarium in Math-Science 112 has provided shows for over 4,500 K-12 students per year. The B.C. astronomy and physical science classes also use the planetarium at selected times during the semester. View an animation of the transition from the old planetarium to the new planetarium (1 MB download Macromedia Flash file). The animation includes a link to a comparison of the original and new floorplans and equipment pricing.
The upgraded planetarium was named after Rep. Bill Thomas and dedicated on November 2, 2006. Congressman Thomas directed the $1 million in federal funds needed to move the planetarium into the 21st century. Link to the article in the Bakersfield Californian describing the ceremony (includes some video footage -- link will appear in a new window).
(These links will take you out of the Bakersfield College website.)
last updated: March 3, 2014
Webpage contact: Nick Strobel