Bakersfield College

William M Thomas Planetarium at Bakersfield College

Shows

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. (See the Field Trips page for Tuesday and Thursday morning shows for school field trips.)

The Planetarium tickets can be purchased online or at the BC Ticket Office. The cost for the shows are $8/adult + $6/senior and children 5 to 12 yrs old. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time---they are not sold at the door (and most shows sell out well ahead of time). Tickets for a given show will be available up to four weeks before a given show BUT after the previous show. Get your tickets at the BC Ticket Office or the online ticket site.

Fall 2017 Schedule of Public Shows (more to be added)

  • Dawn of the Space Age showing September 21. Tickets on sale starting August 18.
  • Black Holes showing October 19. Tickets on sale starting September 22.
  • Dynamic Earth showing November 16. Tickets on sale starting October 20.
  • Season of Light showing November 30 and December 7. Tickets on sale starting November 17.

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.


Group/Reserved Shows and Field Trips

Tuesday + Thursday Morning Shows (Field Trips)

Planetarium morning shows for public groups (esp. school groups) will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:00 and 11:30 AM during the college's fall and spring semesters. Cost for a show is a special field trip rate of $140 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. Shows at other times will follow the arrangement described in the following "Reserved Shows" section below.

 

Reserved Shows (not Tues/Thurs morning)

Planetarium shows for public groups can be most Tuesday or Thursday evenings (and occasionally other times) 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. All other uses of the Planetarium besides the Tuesday/Thursday morning field trips fall under this section.

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 (go to section 3B for Facilities usage and Procedure 3B1(a) for Facilities guidelines).

Contact the Event Scheduling department at 661-395-4556 for more information about facilities rental.


Why not more public shows?

Planetarium director Nick Strobel explains why:

The one complaint I hear about the Planetarium shows is why cannot there be MORE of them? To answer that please consider these facts about the Planetarium:

  1. The shows are done by me on a volunteer (unpaid) basis.
  2. I am the sole staff member of the Planetarium. Most of my job duties are teaching astronomy classes with 20% of the job duties devoted to the school field trips during the Tuesday + Thursday mornings. Bakersfield College has zero funds for any additional staff or training of staff.
  3. Money raised from ticket sales and planetarium rentals goes into the college's general fund that is used for any purpose the college sees fit. The money does NOT go into a fund strictly for the planetarium or the science department---no such fund exists (though people can donate to the BC Foundation with an earmark for the Planetarium).

The entire schedule of shows for the coming semester are posted on the William M Thomas Planetarium’s website at least one week before the semester begins. I also advertise the shows in my newspaper column.

Tickets for shows will be available for purchase from the BC Ticket Office up to four weeks before a given show, but after the previous show.

The fall semester at Bakersfield College begins the fourth week of August and the spring semester begins the Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Do not delay in making your purchases! Shows sell out quickly.

In order to decrease the number of no-shows for the shows, tickets will now be sold up to four weeks before a given show date but after the previous show instead of the whole slate of shows at once.

Nick Strobel, William M Thomas Planetarium Director

Kern Community College District