Free Planetarium Shows Return This Summer at Hopkins Observatory

For reservations, contact Michele Rech at (413) 597-2188 or mcr4​@williams​.edu.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., July 24, 2019—Williams College is pleased to announce the return of planetarium shows at the Old Hopkins Observatory beginning Thursday, July 25.

Hosted by the college’s Hopkins Observatory, in collaboration with the Department of Astronomy, the free shows at the Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory historic building at Williams College, will be open to the public on the following Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 8 p.m.: July 25 and 30; and August 1, 6, 8, 13, and 15. Audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/C opto-mechanical planetarium projector, installed in 2005. Shows will last approximately 50 minutes.

The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the Southern Hemisphere’s sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more.

Summer 2019 shows will be led by Williams student Christian Lockwood ’20. Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy Jay Pasachoff is director of the Hopkins Observatory, and Anne Jaskot, assistant professor of astronomy and Kevin Flaherty, lecturer in astronomy and observatory supervisor, are now members of the astronomy department.

“After making some necessary repairs to equipment—supervised by Cielo Perez ’19 and Jason Mativi, instrumentation engineer in the college’s Science Center—which resulted in a temporary shutdown of the planetarium, we are delighted to resume the shows for the public, allowing visitors to experience the wonders of our universe,” Pasachoff said.

The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States.

Reservations are required. Contact Michele Rech at (413) 597-2188 or [email protected] to make a reservation. Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments.

The Hopkins Observatory is on a small hill on the south side of Main Street east of Spring Street in Williamstown and just east of Lawrence Hall Drive, on which planetarium patrons share parking with the Williams College Museum of Art. A campus map showing the Hopkins Observatory’s location can be found at or at 829 Main Street, Williamstown, Mass., in


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at