Star Gazing Room

The University of Montana is limiting ways in which large groups can gather and possibly spread COVID-19 — like the planetarium where there is close contact in an enclosed space.  For the near future, no new shows will be scheduled in the planetarium and many previously scheduled shows will be canceled.  If you have scheduled a school show or purchased tickets to a public show you will receive an email from us by April 5, 2020.

Payne Family Native American Center

Honored to be a part of the Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute, UM’s planetarium is housed in the beautiful Star Gazing Room in the basement of the Payne Family Native American Center (PFNAC). 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.

Public Shows

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.

Spring 2020 Schedule

Tickets

  • Adults: $6
  • Children (12 and under): $4

All public shows are held on either Thursday or Friday evenings, with two shows per evening at 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM. Please purchase your tickets in advance using following the link to our current semester schedule. Tickets are not available for purchase at the Star Gazing Room and planetarium shows usually sell out in advance. Please arrive 10 minutes early for your show. Once the show begins, there will be no late admittance.

School and Private Shows

In addition to public evenings, we provide programs for school and/or youth groups, summer camps and private groups during the year. Scheduling and pricing information for these types of shows can be found on the school groups and private groups booking pages.

Planetarium Policies and Courtesies

During your visit to the planetarium, we kindly ask the following of you and your group:

  • When entering and leaving the PFNAC building, please be respectful of academic activities by keeping noise to a minimum.
  • 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.
  • School and youth groups 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 to the exit. You cannot be re-admitted during the program due to safety considerations and to ensure quality viewing for other attendees.

Age Recommendations

The planetarium welcomes families to our shows. We do not have a minimum age restriction for children who attend. For public shows, we recommend an age of 7 and above as the subject matter is geared to an adult audience. All children should be accompanied by an adult, and audience members may be asked to leave if repeated disruptions occur as the acoustics of the planetarium are extremely sensitive. For school shows, we offer programs designed to engage and foster a child’s fascination with the sky and our programs are crafted to be appropriate to the age of each individual group.

Planetarium Capacity

The maximum number of attendees for public and private shows is 28. For school shows, the maximum number of attendees is 30, including 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 (lower left). 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".

Planetarium Parking

The closest parking lot to the Payne Family Native American Center (PFNAC) is the lot by the Emma B. Lommasson Center. Parking is free in this lot after 5 pm. The lot is located directly off Arthur Avenue between University and McLeod Avenues. To find the PFNAC building, exit the lot moving away from Arthur Ave, and once you have followed the path between Lommasson Center and Craig Hall, the PFNAC building will be directly in front of you.