Planetarium soars to new heights

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The planets of the universe soar round and round, as the stars appear so close it feels you can touch them. The sun shines so bright above your eyes and then the whole room turns black as the rings of Saturn appear like circles of beautiful, colored ice swirling around a massive ball. This is the typical atmosphere of the Missouri Western Bushman Planetarium shows, which are now playing for the students and St. Joseph community and will continue playing all year long.

The planetarium shows, which are given through the physics department, are put on by astronomy professor Chris Godfrey. According to Godfrey, since the new planetarium reopened in March, it has had great successes.

“The shows are doing fairly well,” Godfrey said. “The facility has been used intensively. We are very fortunate to have it. It is a wonderful facility.”

Godfrey went on to describe the content of the shows.

“Most of the showed programs are great for entertainment value,” he said. “It is akin to an IMAX movie. For students, it’s an astronomy program that integrates with the work we do in the Astronomy classes. It shows what we learn live and in motion. It brings it home a lot more.”

Department Chair and fellow professor of physics Michael Ottinger feels that the shows are doing even better then expected.

“I think the Planetarium is a huge success,” Ottinger said. “We are doing more shows than we thought. Everybody who I’ve talked to wants to see more. It is an exciting event for the university.

Ottinger also explains that if the shows continue keeping good audiences, the department will seek more funding for more shows to satisfy the audiences in the future.

“Eventually we want to get more [shows],” Ottinger said. “They are expensive but it is worth it. The biology department is considering doing some shows for the program as well.”

For tickets call 816-271-4288 or visit the website at

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