New Planetarium at Yale Opens with Weekly Shows and Classes

Youngsters and adults alike will soon be able to tour the cosmos without leaving their seats, thanks to the opening of a new planetarium at Yale’s Leitner Family Observatory, 355 Prospect St.

The renamed Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium is set to open in January, with free weekly planetarium shows open to the public every Tuesday night at 6 p.m., starting Jan. 20.

The shows will include a live presentation highlighting planets and constellations visible in the night sky, as projected onto the planetarium’s 30-foot dome, followed by “Passport to the Universe,” a digitally projected tour through the solar system, galaxy and beyond. Shows will last approximately 35-40 minutes and, weather permitting, telescopes will be set up for observing afterwards.

Telescope class

The Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium will also celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, as designated by the United Nations, with a number of special events throughout the year.

Kicking off the celebration in January is a class on how to use amateur telescopes. The observatory’s director, Michael Faison of the Department of Astronomy, will explain how telescopes work and give hands-on lessons on how to find and view the most exciting celestial objects. Participants may bring their own telescope and get a personal tutorial, or learn how to use one of the amateur telescopes at the observatory and get tips on choosing and buying their own.

The class will be offered 7-9 p.m. on three separate nights: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, January 7, 8 and 9. Weather permitting, telescopes will be available for observing. Each class is limited to 12 participants. The class is open to all ages and is free of charge. To reserve a space, send e-mail to

For more information about the Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium, as well as programs and events, visit

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