RU Planetarium

Seeing Stars at the RU Planetarium

In 1970, a unique 24-foot diameter planetarium dome found it’s home in the New River Valley. Planetaria exist all over the world, but not many are like the one inside The Center for the Sciences at Radford University.

The perfectly smooth semi-circular dome was constructed by Harold Lester and Ken Hall using a handmade 90 degree trowel. They added a thick layer of hard plaster to suspended wire mesh frame, which eliminated the presence of any seams in the special dome.

Most planetarium ceilings are created with prefabricated panels, which have seams, and often allow light to “leak through” and create a minor distraction.

The only break in the seamless dome at RU is the a small cap covering a sprinkler for required fire extinguisher system that was later installed. Now the planetarium staff often use it to help visitors locate things in the sky.

The planetarium underwent an update and reopened in 2016 with 55 theater-style seats, a new projection system, and Dolby surround sound.

For many years, the RU Planetarium has served as a great asset for science education in Virginia’s New River Valley. Frequent visitors include school groups, Scouts, community groups, and more. It makes education fun and entertaining for any audience.

The Planetarium also participates in Science Days, which will relaunch in 2019 after the renovations of Reed and Curie Halls are complete. Science Days are day-long field trips that also feature activities with the Physics, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, and Forensics Departments.

If you missed the latest show at the RU Planetarium, “Seeing! A Photon’s Journey Across Space, Time, and Mind,” this week, watch out for Upcoming Shows in the future.

For more information visit the RU Planetarium Website.


Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

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