The planning of Yates Hall, a Math and Physics building occurred from 1962-1963. The President of the university, Dr. Leonard H. Axe, insisted that the building include a planetarium. There were, however, no funds available to pay for a star projector for the planetarium. In the fall of 1963, Mrs. Gladys Kelce provided funds to pay for the planetarium as a memorial to her husband, L. Russell Kelce. The planetarium opened in July of 1964, and saw 10,000 visitors the first year. Most of these visitors were from schools.
Today, the planetarium still provides shows for schools (elementary, secondary, and university), churches, and other groups, as well as public shows. Schools, churches, groups, etc. can schedule private shows to fit their needs. Each show features a tour of the current night sky and a topical program.
The planetarium has a seating capacity of around 60 individuals and is wheelchair accessible. The projector, a Spitz A3P, is capable of projecting stars, constellations, planets, the sun, the moon (and phases), daily motion of the sky, yearly motion of the sky, and motion to view the sky from any latitude on Earth. The planetarium also uses slides and music during shows.
Public shows will be Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30 beginning September 11th, with a cost of $3 per person at the door. The last show for 2013 will be Wednesday, December 4th. No show Wednesday, November 27th.
For information on scheduling a private show contact Mrs. Desirae Tyler, secretary for the Physics Department either by e-mail or at (620) 235-4391.