Astronomy@CCSU

More information about astronomy courses, minors or student research
Contact the planetarium (Carol Ivers), or book a group planetarium show, observing session, or workshop
Request a talk by Dr. Larsen or Dr. Piatek
Directions
Support our programs with a donation
Geological Sciences Department Blog
CCSUniverse Astronomy blog

 

Have an astronomy question?
Astronomy and The Hobbit
Create a Harry Potter Starfinder

 

Welcome to the home of Astronomy at CCSU, housed in the Geological Sciences Department.

We offer minors in Astronomy and Astrobiology, including a variety of astronomy courses at the introductory through advanced level. We also offer student research opportunities in planetary and lunar astronomy, variable stars, and astronomy education and outreach.

Our facilities include the Copernican Planetarium, Copernican Observatory (with a 16-inch Cassegrain telescope), and a variety of portable telescopes, all of which are available for student use (after proper training).

Copernican Planetarium and Observatory

Upcoming Public Planetarium Shows

The leaves on the trees are now changing as the Earth has passed that special place in its orbit that we know as the autumnal equinox. The first show this month will take place on Friday, November 1st at 7 PM. This event will focus on our motions through the solar system as well as through the Milky Way galaxy. In other words, how fast are you moving when you are sitting still? The second show of the month will take place on Saturday, November 16th at 7 PM and will highlight one of our favorite objects in the solar system – Pluto! Be our guest and discover why Pluto isn’t a planet anymore but still holds a special place in our hearts.

Doors to the planetarium will open 30 minutes before the advertised show time. Plan on being here at least 15 minutes before the start time because the presentation will start promptly and late admittance is not guaranteed. If you are late, we ask that you not disturb the show by trying to open the door. After the show, if skies are clear, we invite you to join us on the roof of the building for observing of the real night sky through our telescopes.

All of our programming is free and open to the general public. Seating is on a first-come basis - the planetarium seats about 90. There is also space for wheelchairs. The observing deck with portable telescopes is handicapped accessible but the observatory involves stairs. We offer free planetarium shows, observing sessions, and hands-on astronomy workshops to school and community groups and civic organizations (such as scouts, PTOs, home schooling groups, libraries, assisted living centers, etc.). We apologize for the fact that we cannot schedule private shows or observing sessions for individuals or individual families and ask you to please respect this policy. To book a special group event, or to contact the planetarium director, use the mail link in the menu bar on the righthand side of this page. You can also leave a phone message at 860-832-2950.

Our astronomy professors are also available to give talks at your facility (within 45 minutes driving distance to CCSU and as their schedule permits) if you provide a way to show a PowerPoint presentation (i.e. a projector or compatible large wall monitor). Please use the links in the menu bar to contact Dr. Piatek and Dr. Larsen.

Announcing Our New Planetarium Director!

We are excited to announce that after a detailed search process, Ms. Carol Ivers has been selected to lead the planetarium and observatory and is now on board! Watch this space for some exciting new changes over the next few months! To schedule a free show for your public group, please use the email link in the navigation bar. We prefer this to phone calls because email provides a written record of your request.

Support our Programs!

Your generous support helps us keep our programming free for all members of the public as well as school and community groups. All donations are welcomed, no matter the size: https://ccsu.networkforgood.com/causes/10287-copernican-observatory-planetarium

It's not too early to prepare for the April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse!

Plan ahead for the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse (totality will be visible from parts of New England!)

What's it like to experience a total solar eclipse? Listen to Dr. Larsen's enthusiastic comments in this video taken during the total solar eclipse in the Faroe Islands (her 4th total solar eclipse).

Visit the CCSUniverse blog to read about Dr. Larsen's experiences at the August 21, 2017 eclipse