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Brigham Young University’s Planetarium

Last weekend students at Brigham Young University put on Astrofest. Astrofest is a series of activities designed to introduce children to the joys of astronomy and physics. Activities included building and launching paper rockets, a scavenger hunt for information about the planets in our solar system, solar observation through a special telescope, physics demonstrations, and planetarium shows.

The planetarium at Brigham Young University is housed in Carl F. Eyring Science Center. The original planetarium was constructed in 1957. When it opened in 1958 the planetarium seated an audience of sixty. It was the first planetarium in the state of Utah. Funds for constructing the planetarium were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hyrum B. Summerhays and it was named in honor of Sarah Berrett Summerhays. The Summerhays planetarium served the university community for over forty years.

Dr. H. Kimball Hansen adjusts the projector in the Summerhays planetarium atop the Eyring Science Center, ca. 1958.

In 2005 a new planetarium was constructed and named for Royden G. Derrick. The Derrick planetarium is primarily used for university course work but also provides outreach shows for local schools and weekend shows for the general public. It features a specialized 3-D star projector and state-of-the-art acoustics that enable the study of the night sky. The planetarium is an important component of astronomical education at Brigham Young University.

If you would like to know more about the history of the planetarium, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or gordon_daines@byu.edu

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