Rauch Planetarium and Gheens Science Hall

The University Planetarium provides services for K-12 students and their teachers in the region, and supports academic programs in Physics and Astronomy. It features a theater seating 169 under a full dome with 4K×4K projection simulating the night sky. The Science Hall includes an historical display of our first generation opto-mechanical projector, and an interactive exhibition of meteorites.

Administered by the College of Education and Human Development, the planetarium has been closed to the public since 2020 at the onset of the COVID pandemic. While it continues to be closed for public shows due to budget constraints, it remains open for University functions and scheduled school programs.

The Rauch Planetarium and Gheens Science Hall was designed to reflect its astronomical purpose with circles and a conic section incorporated in the building and a surrounding circular wall. An enclosed garden features a scale model of the solar system, sundials, and an interactive solar telescope. The wall has slots to mark the passage of time as the Sun apparently moves across the sky during the day. A northern tall slot highlights the meridian passage of the Sun, and the length of its bright illumination outside the wall indicates the summer and winter solstices at its extremes, and the equinoxes at its midpoint, evocative of Stonehenge.

The Star of David pattern seen in the aerial view above is in honor of Rabbi Joseph Rauch (1881-1957) for whom the university's first planetarium was dedicated as well.

Last update: September 16, 2022
kielkopf at louisville dot edu