Reynolds Science Center Planetarium

The Reynolds Planetarium at Henderson State University is a one-of-a-kind teaching, learning, and special occasion place located in the heart of Southwest Arkansas. Open to the public for shows, star-gazing events, field trips, and private functions, the planetarium reflects Henderson State University's commitment to service through educational engagement with the community.

With an 8.2 meter (27.5 ft) diameter dome and state of the art Digitalis Gamma Digital Projection system, The Reynolds Planetarium is one of the largest and most sophisticated in the state of Arkansas. The Digitalis Gamma system can project stars, planets, galaxies, and virtually anything else onto the dome as they look in the real sky (including both the Northern and Southern hemispheres - when was the last time you saw the Southern Cross?) as well as immerse the audience in a full-dome animation show. Shows combine stunning visual effects on the dome with powerful surround sound to transport audiences to all reaches of the universe, from a light-speed trip to see mysterious black holes to the Stars of the Pharaohs.

The Donald W. Reynolds planetarium is a member of the Southwestern Association of Planetariums (SWAP) and the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA).

Planetarium Schedule: Fall 2015-Spring 2016

When you attend a planetarium show, you will be given a tour of the night's sky, visiting beautiful planets, nebulae, and galaxies. Before your show begins, your guide will point out the fascinating objects you can see that night with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope. Plan for 10-15 minutes in addition to the length of your show.

Thursdays, September 10th and 24th at 7 PM “Fire Fall” Throughout Earth's violent history, impacts from comets and asteroids have mercilessly shaped its surface. The ancient barrage continues today, from harmless meteors - those brilliant streaks in the night sky, to mountain sized boulders wandering perilously close to Earth. Terrifying and majestic, these invaders from space are capable of utter destruction yet they have delivered life-giving water and most of the organic materials necessary for life. Life on Earth owes its very existence to these denizens of the solar system, yet it could all be wiped out in an instant. This ceaseless fire fall is our only tangible connection to the universe beyond and is an ever-present reminder of our own humble beginnings in the hostile environment of space. (27 min)

Thursdays, October 8th  and 22nd at 7 PM and Sunday, October 11th at 2pm “Secrets of the Sun” Secrets of the Sun allow audiences to experience an intimate look at the role the sun plays in the life of our Solar System. From the nuclear forces churning at the heart of the sun to the mass ejections of solar material into the surrounding space, we will experience the power of the sun and its impact on the planets and ultimately life on Earth. We will trace the life cycle of the sun itself, going back to its beginnings and moving forward in time to its eventual death. (21 min)

Thursdays, November 12th and 19th at 7 PM and Sunday, November 15th at 2pm “Astronomy - 3000 Years of Stargazing” Throughout time, the sky has piqued our curiosity. Eclipses, the regular cycle of the seasons, the rising and setting of the Moon, Sun, and planets, the motion of the stars — all have fascinated mankind since our earliest ancestors first looked up. Monuments constructed across our home planet, from Stonehenge to Machu Picchu, bear witness to humanity's ancient fascination with the stars. (34 Min)

December 3rd at 7 PM, December 8rd at 6 PM, and Sunday, December 13th at 2pm “Mystery of the Christmas Star” Journey back over 2000 years to Bethlehem as we seek to discover a scientific explanation for the star the wise men followed to find the baby Jesus. (31 min)

 

January 28th and February 11th at 7 PM, and Sunday, February 7th at 2pm “Super Volcanoes” Super volcanoes explore rare types of volcanic eruptions that marshal the energy that lurks, like a sleeping dragon, beneath the surface of planet Earth. The story of these big blow-outs is a tale of havoc and mayhem: mass extinctions, climate collapses, and violence beyond anything humans have ever witnessed. In this unique immersive experience, audiences will explore the impact of volcanism on Earth and other worlds in our solar system. Can a super volcano erupt in our own time? The answer is surprisingly close to home. (24 min)

February 25th and March 10th at 7 PM, and Sunday, March 6th at 2pm “Universe” An historical look at how we have envisioned the universe through the ages. We visit some of the ancient sites where our ancestors erected great structures with special astronomical significance. Finally we look at the Universe through the eyes of today's science and space explorers to build up a spectacular overview of the heavens. (22 min)

March 31st and April 14th at 7 PM, and Sunday, April 10th at 2pm “Two Small Pieces of Glass” How the telescope has changed our few of the heavens from its inception, development, improvement and what is in store for the future of watching the stars. (25 min)

All public shows listed in the schedule above will start promptly at 7 p.m., and no late entries will be allowed.

Cost 

  • General Public - $3 per person
  • HSU students, faculty and staff - $1 with school ID
  • OBU students, faculty, and staff - $1 with school ID

Group and Birthday Party Information

The planetarium accommodates various school and community groups throughout the year that wish to visit during the school day. The Physics Department will make every reasonable effort to schedule a show for your group.

For each group show, the cost is $50 for up to 45 people.  Contact us for group pricing of larger groups.  

To schedule a show for your group, contact:

Denise Cordova
cordovd@hsu.edu
870-230-5162
or
Dr. Rick McDaniel
mcdanir@hsu.edu 
870-230-5170

The Society of Physics Students now hosts planetarium birthday parties including a science demo show.  This birthday package includes 1 planetarium show (22-45 minutes depending on the show), a science demo show in our physics lab classroom (approximately 25 minutes), and 24 gourmet cupcakes from Muffin Tops for a cost of $120. Up to 24 guests may be invited for this price.  

If you are interested in scheduling a planetarium birthday party, email the Society of Physics Students advisor Dr. Shannon Clardy at clardys@hsu.edu or call 870-230-5165.  

Click here for a list of Planetarium Shows currently available.

Astronomical Observing

Join faculty of the Department of Physics to observe the wonders of the night sky.

  • September 14th 8pm-9:30pm behind the International Student Center
  • October 20th 6-7:30am at the DeGray Lake Lower Dam Area
  • October 22nd 6:30pm behind the International Student Center during Family Science Night
  • November 9th 6:15-7:45 pm at the DeGray Lake Lower Dam Area
  • November 10th 4:30-6am at the DeGray Lake Lower Dam Area

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