A combination of high-definition imagery and sound on the most high-tech projection system in the Pacific Northwest presents a 36-foot panoramic view of the universe in 3D at Bechtel’s National Planetarium at Columbia Basin College in Pasco. And, it’s open to the public.

What’s the Bechtel Planetarium All About?

photo: spitzinc.com
photo: spitzinc.com NanoSeam Dome

December will mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Bechtel National Planetarium – a large indoor theater with a curved screen suspended above the audience. Since 2012 the facility has hosted over 120,000 visitors with a mission of sharing the wonder of the universe, technology, and science on a Spitz SciDome XD projection system with a hemispherical projection surface and NanoSeam construction. In short, viewers will have a life-like visual experience of the universe. As one reviewer of the Spitz Nanoseam Dome said, “the NanoSeam dome takes our guests’ experience to another level…it brings together the edges of the universe in one seamless viewing experience”.

When are the Bechtel Planetarium shows and how do I purchase tickets?

The shows typically run about an hour and a half and include a movie about our solar system or a constellation tour. They also include astronomy news and a live look at the current night sky. Public shows are scheduled for the first and third Fridays of each month at 7:00 p.m. and on the second and fourth Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.  It’s easy to get on the schedule - get tickets online HERE.

View the Sky For Free at the Robert & Elizabeth Moore Observatory

Canva-Getty Images
Canva-Getty Images

Next door to the Bechtel Planetarium is the Robert & Elizabeth Moore Observatory which presents free telescope viewings of the night sky on a 16-inch telescope on the second and fourth Friday of every month. *The website says the observatory is currently closed and to check for updates.  

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