Williamsville Central School District

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What is it?

Planetarium Exterior
The Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium started as an astronomy lab in 1969.  It has grown into a high-tech multimedia learning resource for students of all ages.  It is operated and maintained by the Williamsville Central School District, but it is also open to school groups from across Western New York as well as to the public.

The facility started operations with a Spitz A5 mechanical star projector.  This amazing machine creates a truly realistic simulated night sky on the 30 foot diameter dome ceiling.  Many celestial phenomena can be reproduced by the star projector: Moon phases, planetary motion, seasonal changes of the Sun and stars, and constellations are all ready at the flip of a switch.

However, there is much more!

What is so cool about the Planetarium?

The Space Lab Planetarium has grown over the years to become a multimedia theater and classroom.  We have recently undergone renovations and we have state of the art projection systems, including...
...a Definiti Theater!

DS Solar SystemWhat's that?  We have a fulldome projection system that uses six video projectors to cover the dome with seamless immersive imagery.  At 2000 pixel diameter resolution, the dome is covered with approximately 3 million unique pixels.

What does that mean?  We can use SkyVision mode to bring you the latest programming created for planetariums around the world, and you get to listen in full theater quality surround sound.  We can also use the Digital Sky 2 mode to create 3-D real-time astronomical visualizations.  Now the click of a mouse brings the cosmos to you.  We can fly around our solar system, visit planets around another star, tour the galaxy, or even go beyond to see deep space data sets all the way out to the edge of the observable universe.

This isn't your grandfather's planetarium any more, but bring him along for the ride!

Wait, lasers too?!laser abstract radial

Yes, we also have a SkyLase fulldome full-color laser projection system.  This allows us to bring laser shows and graphics right here to Williamsville.
laser draco

But what about those old chairs you used to have?

Don't worry, we have installed great new chairs too.  You can view all of our wonderful programming in perfect Chaircomfort without straining your neck.

The seating capacity is limited to a maximum of 75 persons.

Who can visit?

Programming is available to all schools and all grade levels within the WCSD. Programming is also available to schools outside of the WCSD during school hours.  A fee of $55 per show is charged for evening activities as well as to groups from outside of the WCSD.  This fee is waived for non-profit parochial and private schools within the WSCD.

The minimum group size is 20 students and teachers.

Evening programs are offered through Williamsville Community Education.  A listing of programs can be found on our Public Shows page.

Scheduling A Visit

To schedule a visit to the Space Lab Planetarium, look through the pages of this website and decide which program meets your needs.  Next, contact our office by email (mpercy@williamsvillek12.org) or at 626-8523 to request a date and time for the program you desire.  The final step is to complete the necessary forms required by your building principal and transportation department.

Groups that are not part of Williamsville Central School District must forward a Certificate of Liability Insurance to the Planetarium prior to the visit.

PLEASE NOTE: Visits to the Space Lab Planetarium are often tightly scheduled.  If you know that your group will be more than 15 minutes late for any reason, please call the Space Lab Planetarium to determine if it is still possible to attend.  If it is not possible, we will re-schedule your visit.

In the event you are not able to contact the Planetarium, please understand it may not be possible to seat your group for your visit because of the impact on the schedule for other classes, schools, or groups.Need more information?  Contact the Planetarium Director:

How to Find the Planetarium

A couple of other features...

Scale Model of the Solar System

As part of your Space Lab Planetarium program or on your own, you can walk our new scale model of the solar system.  Starting at the Space Lab Planetarium you can see the Sun and the inner planets at a scale of 20,000,000,000:1.  Walk down the hall and across the school campus to find the rest of the planets that orbit our star.  This tour will demonstate the vast distances and relative sizes of the planets to your students.  If you would like to take the tour on your own, you can pick up a handout at the Space Lab Planetarium.  You may also request a guided tour by Planetarium Director, Mr. Mark Percy.  Please ask if you’d like to give it a try!

Photovoltaic Solar Power Generation SystemSolar Panels

While you are visiting the solar system, ask about our newest "Solar System". The WCSD has recently added a solar power generation system at the Space Lab Planetarium.  These photovoltaic panels are reducing both utility costs and pollution.