Bakersfield College

William M Thomas Planetarium at Bakersfield College


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.

October 23, 2014 partial solar eclipse with Jupiter and Earth for scale --  Comparison of Venus transit 2012 and Mercury transit 2016
(Left) Solar eclipse with Jupiter and Earth for scale. (Right) Venus transit vs. Mercury transit. Select images for a larger version.

Fall 2017 Schedule of Public Evening Shows will be posted in August


Opened in the fall of 1962 (and formally dedicated in early January 1963 with the name "Bakersfield College Planetarium"), 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.

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.

Kern Community College District