All evening shows begin at 7:30pm on a Thursday evening given in the schedule below. Doors open at 7pm for people to sit wherever they want. Doors are locked at 7:30pm 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. The cost for the shows is $8/adult + $6/senior and children 5-12 years old (plus $2 surcharge). 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 Vallitix. See the Planetarium's Map page for directions to the Planetarium and Parking Information. On the day of the show, get your campus pass and bring a printout of the clearance form from "Ready Education" in your email (subject line "Campus Pass for [date]"). Visitors without email can download and submit a filled out hardcopy of the Planetarium evening show Health Checker questionnaire at the door (parents, please fill out and sign the form for your underage offspring). See the COVID-19 Restrictions for Campus Visitors page for more details (see the "one-time visitor" section). You can upload your vaccination or COVID test information on the Visitor Verification Form (allow at least three business days for processing).
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.
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 $150 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.
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.
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:
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 usually 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 are 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