W.A. Gayle Planetarium

Temporary Closure:

YOU are very important to us.  In an effort to help ensure the health and safety of our Patrons and Staff,

the W.A. Gayle Planetarium will be closed for shows thru the month of April.

The Planetarium  will continue to revise plans if the situation changes.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

You may still contact us by email: m01planet@troy.edu

Phone: 334-625-4799

 or Facebook: www.facebook.com/gayleplanetarium/

 

Thank you.  The Planetarium Staff/Troy University.

(See Letter from the Planetarium Director below.)

Our Mission

The W.A. Gayle Planetarium is the region’s premier facility for astronomy and science education, as well as a multimedia theater for films, lectures, live music, and digital art performances. Operated by Troy University for the City of Montgomery, the planetarium embodies the university’s motto: “To educate the mind to think, the body to act, and the heart to feel.”

We strive to educate, enlighten, and inspire. Through a mix of live presentations and immersive multimedia experiences, we connect audiences to our ever-changing view of the universe and our place in it.

The planetarium is not just a tourist attraction. Open to curious minds of all ages, we are a place for the community to gather and revel in the majesty of the cosmos. We support students at all levels—from kindergarten through college—across the state of Alabama and beyond in their quest for knowledge and understanding. We offer education-related astronomy programs designed to meet STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Math) objectives, and we connect core academic subjects such as math and science to careers in space exploration.

 

Visitor Experience

Located in historic Oak Park, the W. A. Gayle Planetarium is one of the largest in the southeast United States and has been connecting patrons with the cosmos for nearly 50 years. With our full-dome digital projection system—which incorporates a 25,000 watt surround sound system—we can not only simulate the night sky but also launch off Earth and take audiences on a virtual tour through our solar system, across our galaxy, and to the edge of the known universe.

In our 159-seat theater, we present a mix of visually stunning and immersive movies about the latest astronomical discoveries along with traditional live tours of what’s up in the night sky. We also invite you to explore our exhibit space, which includes a scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope, a collection of dazzling celestial images, and an artistic rendering of the history of astronomy. Our Discovery Store gift shop also offers fun, diverse, and unique souvenirs that are sure to delight any space fan.

 

A Letter From the Director: Rick Evans

Hello, Planetarium Family.

As I write this, unprecedented things are happening in our world. None of us could have predicted that a pandemic would prevent the Planetarium from conducting its daily shows or hosting its 22nd annual Astronomy Day Event. I had my money on a rogue asteroid, or coronal mass ejection (CME). In the end, though, the safety of our visitors and staff was paramount in the decision to temporarily close the Planetarium on March 16th, 2020.

Quite honestly, this will have serious financial ramifications for the Planetarium. As a not-for-profit organization, the Planetarium devotes as much of its resources as possible to keeping our equipment operating, and our shows current and relative. The budget is prepared with the goal of breaking even, not with the goal of generating large profits. So, cancelling shows for this period is difficult for the Planetarium from a financial standpoint, but it was the right civic thing to do.

At this writing, the United States and Canada have not yet seen the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak. So, we are still living with uncertainty. The planetarium’s next major scheduled event (Astronomy Day) was set to take place Saturday, May 2nd, 2020. I have decided in light of the circumstances, to postpone the event until Fall.  No one knows how long this pandemic will last and when people will again feel comfortable gathering in large groups.  We were all excited to be together and to celebrate the wonders of the celestial night sky. Ultimately, though, the health and well-being of our patrons is more important.  

 Dr. Hawkins, Chancellor, Troy University, as well Mr. White, the Vice Chancellor for Troy’s Montgomery campus have been aggressive in their actions toward mitigating this threat not only to the University students and employee’s but the public we serve as well. So, although we are not running shows, the Planetarium is still minimally staffed.  We are available to answer your astronomy related questions, as well as schedule future field trips.

 We plan to continue to serve the public as best we can under these circumstances, but we ask that you please be patient and remain flexible. The entire world is dealing with the battle against this unseen enemy. This is like nothing we have seen in our lifetime. We are working to protect our families and loved ones and to stay safe while doing everything we can to make sure the Planetarium remains a viable resource for our teachers, educators, and the community we serve.

 We are hopeful that this pandemic will pass quickly and that we’ll be able to return to life as normal sooner rather than later. The experts are telling us it will be over sooner if we heed their recommendations. I encourage each of you to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) and your local authorities; practice social distancing, and wash your hands…. A LOT!!   Be kind to one another. Check on your loved ones and neighbors. Stay well. 

 I will continue to keep you posted on the status of the Planetarium operations.

 Sincerely,

Rick Evans, Director