Throwback Thursday – Spaceship Earth at Hardin Planetarium

The start of a new year, especially a new decade, can sometimes prompt questions of reflection and purpose. A Bowling Green educational venue with more than 50 years of history is helping put things into perspective. The Hardin Planetarium’s current show tells more about our Earth’s place in this universe.

The Hardin Planetarium at Western Kentucky University was under construction during the late 1960s, when the United States was deep into the space race. Officially dedicated in October of 1967, it was named for Hardin Cherry Thompson, the late son of WKU President Kelly Thompson, who passed away during his senior year on campus.

Sitting two stories tall with a 72-foot diameter and six thousand square foot area, the Planetarium’s main gallery can hold 110 spectators. With its 360-degree layout, the night sky can be projected onto its 40-foot dome.

The current show runs now through the first week of February. Called “Spaceship Earth,” the program tells more about where the Earth sits in the cosmos. Always traveling relative to all the planets, stars, galaxies and more surrounding the Earth, the Planetarium staff remind viewers that it’s truly quite impossible to sit still on this home planet.

The Planetarium provides free shows like this to the general public all year. The hour-long presentations run on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. The venue is also available for private parties, special events, and group educational classes put together by the WKU Astronomy and Physics departments.