Home Campus Planetarium opens with 'Unseen Universe'

Planetarium opens with ‘Unseen Universe’

BYU-Idaho’s Romney Planetarium reopened for public shows this month — starting with the show “Unseen Universe,” which allows viewers to see past the universe in wavelengths that the eye can’t see.

According to the planetarium’s website, “We now have the technology to capture the Universe over an amazing width of the spectrum and beyond. Unseen Universe makes what was once thought to be unseeable, seeable.”

The people who work with the planetarium love working there and are excited to open after the coronavirus pandemic.

As you walk down the stairs to enter the basement-level planetarium, there are pictures and charts taken by powerful telescope cameras.
As you walk down the stairs to enter the basement-level planetarium, there are pictures and charts taken by powerful telescope cameras. Photo credit: Delaney Lanham

“I love the planetarium because it’s a chance to kind of showcase some of the beautiful things our universe holds,” said Stephen McNeil, a physics professor and the head of the planetarium. “I mean, our universe really is full of different marvels. And basically, it’s a way for them to get to know our Heavenly Father in a different way.”

The planetarium offers public shows every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the George S. Romney Building, room 107. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before the show, on a first-come, first-served basis, and are purchased at the door at $2 a ticket. Children under five years old are free with an adult.

For now, the planetarium will operate with reduced capacity — 18 tickets a show — while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Private shows are also available to schedule.

A closer look at the planetarium's June show.
A closer look at the planetarium's June show. Photo credit: Delaney Lanham

“And you pay them the two bucks or, if you’re taking someone special, the four bucks. That’s a cheap date, right?” McNeil said.

The planetarium is open to everyone — even if you’ve never been before.

“If you have looked at the stars and said, ‘Wow, that’s really cool!’ then you can come here,” said Tatum Mahlstede, a junior studying physics. “And then you can learn a little bit more, like either about the night sky or just the steps that have been taken to learn about the universe. … If you’ve ever had any interest, it’s definitely a cool place to go.”

Read more on the BYU-I planetarium site.

Social-distance seat markers in the planetarium to watch the night sky while following school guidelines.
Social-distance seat markers in the planetarium to watch the night sky while following school guidelines. Photo credit: Delaney Lanham

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