Star Gazing Room

Payne Family Native American Center

Honored to be a part of the Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute, UM’s new planetarium is housed in the beautiful Star Gazing Room in the basement of the Payne Family Native American Center.  Now open for public, private, and school shows we invite you to join us as we view the wonders of the night sky and explore the cosmos! 

Each of our shows will familiarize you with the constellations, planets, and bright deep sky objects currently visible, as well as any exciting upcoming celestial events.  The remainder of each show will focus on a specific topic, including such possibilities as the star lore of different cultures, discoveries in solar physics, planetary exploration, the search for exoplanets, galaxies and cosmology, or the discoveries of recent and current space science missions.

Public Shows:  The dates for the Spring 2017 public shows are:  January 20th, February 3rd & 17th, March 3rd, 17th, & 31st, April 14th & 28th, May 12th.  Tickets are $6 (adults) and $4 (children 12 and under), and must be purchased in advance.  Each evening wlll consist of two shows, 6:30 PM and 8:00 PM.  Please make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time, as we can not sell tickets the night of the show, and the shows usually sell out far in advance.  Buy your tickets here.  Please arrive 10 minutes early for your show so that we may check you in.

Special Event - SPS Fundraiser:  Friday, March 10th, at 6:00 and 7:00 PM.  Our local chapter of SPS (Society of Physics Students) will be hosting a fundraiser, which will include a pair of planetarium shows for the general public.  The shows will be the standard 50 minutes in length, with content to be created by our SPS presenters.  There is no formal ticket price, but given this is a student fundraiser, a $5 cash donation would be greatly appreciated at the door.  (Larger donations are OK, provided they are under $20).  Please note this will NOT be a formally ticketed event, so tickets are not sold on Eventbrite.  Seating will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.  If the audience size exceeds capacity for both the 6:00 and 7:00 PM shows, a third show may be offered at 8:00 PM.  If you have questions about this event, please contact Daniel Rogers, at 406 552-7953, or email him at daniel1.rogers@umontana.edu.

School and Private Shows: In addition to public evenings, we are also providing programs for both visiting school and youth groups and private groups during the academic semester. Scheduling and pricing for these shows can be found on the corresponding pages.  Click on the appropriate link found on the right side of this page.  

Age Recommendations:  We do not have any firm guidelines with respect to children.  If a child can remain quiet and attentive for the 50 minutes, then it is fine for that child to attend.  We find that children age 7 and older seem able to enjoy the show best, as the subject matter is at the adult level.  Parents are responsible for their child and may be asked to leave if the child is disruptive.

PFNAC building

Planetarium Policies and Courtesies

When visiting the planetarium, there are a few reminders we'd like to provide before your visit.  For our teachers and chaperones, please review these with your students beforehand.  As planetarium visitors, we kindly ask the following of you and your group:

  • When entering and leaving the building (the PFNAC), please keep your voices to a minimum, as there may be classes and other academic activities happening in the building.
  • Before your show, turn off all cell phones and handheld electronic devices.  Please refrain from taking pictures or texting during the show. 
  • Remain seated once the show has begun, for your own safety and that of those around you.
  • For school and youth groups, you must have at least one chaperone for every 9 students.
  • Food or drink is not allowed in the planetarium.
  • Refrain from touching any of the equipment or electronics within the planetarium.
  • If you must leave the planetarium at any time during a show, please ask our presenter to help you safely get to the exit.  Due to the darkness of the room, and for safety precautions, you will not be re-admitted during the program.

Planetarium Capacity:  The maximum number of attendees for public and private shows is 28.  For school shows, the maximum number of attendees is 30, which would include 3 chaperones.  The upper limit of 30 in school shows is based on fire code, and cannot be exceeded.

How to Find the Planetarium:  The Payne Family Native American Center is located just east of Arthur Ave., adjacent to "The Oval" on campus.  When viewing this campus map, the PFNAC is located on the southwestern edge of the green oval, near the center of campus.  Once inside, the Star Gazing Room is found in the basement, and is numbered Room 013.  The curvature of the walls is rather unique, and the door to Room 013 is labeled "Star Gazing Room."