Hello, and welcome to the Austin Planetarium website!
Did you know that Austin is the largest city in the United States without a planetarium? As a matter of fact, of the top 40 largest cities, Austin ranks #14, but we're the only one without a planetarium!
Additionally, Central Texas lacks a full-spectrum science museum where a broad variety of science subjects are exhibited. If you want to instill an interest in Science and/or Engineering in a growing mind, where do you go? Right, you go to Houston or the Dallas Fort Worth area.
This unfortunate situation lies at the core of our project. The Austin Planetarium is dedicated to creating a world-class planetarium, science museum and technology center to inspire Central Texas children and adults to learn about the wonders of science and space exploration.
In these pages, you will find an enormous amount of information about our project, and how you can help us achieve our goal. Additionally, although we do not have a planetarium or science museum in Austin, we have jumped ahead of ourselves and started the work that a planetarium is supposed to do: educate and spread interest about the sciences. To that end, we created our Astro News; which is a page here at our website with a ton of exciting information about science related topics. Plus, we also share educational documents that teachers, parents and students are free to download and use. Also, we are running a mobile planetarium program where we bring our "Discovery Dome" right to your school or event!
I hope that you will find a lot of things of interest in these pages, and I fully expect for every visitor to agree that Austin needs a planetarium!
When I was 10, I had to write a science report on "The Planets of Our Solar System." The problem was... I didn't know anything about it. Luckily, my mom showed me how to use an encyclopedia. But, more importantly, she took time to explain things to me.
I was proud of my report, but my teacher wasn't so impressed. He thought I had just copied material from a book and not learned anything. So he quizzed me, and was shocked to hear me recite exact facts and figures. You see, I had learned because I cared, and because my mother had cared enough to teach me how to learn.
While earning my degree in astrophysics, I worked at the Artis Planetarium of Amsterdam creating and conducting presentations for the public. It was there that I realized my true calling: to make learning science exciting and fun...for everyone. Regardless of age, income, or education, everyone enjoyed learning about science, and the community benefited.
Long ago, my mother taught me that when a person cares passionately about something, others will care as well. I ask you to care.
How you can help
A project of this magnitude can never be achieved without an incredible team, but most importantly, this project requires overwhelming support from the community. Of course we need money to operate our business, and eventually enough money to build the facility, but we also need volunteers; and when we need to convince politicians at the city or state level, we need an army of voices. Below I have listed some ways you can help us in our efforts.
Become a Member
Although the Austin planetarium is not open yet, there are definite benefits to becoming a member of the Austin Planetarium. By becoming a member you are not only actively supporting this project, you will also receive a host of benefits. Our partners have put up great discount programs that are available only to our members. We have partnered with Go Local Austin to offer incredible discounts to all Austin Planetarium members. Want to receive a 10% off food and drink at the Alamo Drafthouse? Or discounted tickets to the Austin Lyric Opera and Ballet Austin? The Austin Planetarium Go Local card also gets you freebies and discounts at over 100 area restaurants, bars and bakeries, as well as hotel upgrades, service discounts, and activity promotions. Austin Planetarium memberships also make perfect gifts, plus all donations are tax deductible of course.
Sign up for our Newsletter
The simplest way to support our efforts is to sign up to our newsletter. This is easy, quick and free. You will receive an email once a month detailing our progress and events that we participate in. But most importantly, when we need your help, we know there is an army of supporters ready to act.
Volunteer your time
The Austin Planetarium hosts fundraising events, and we man booths at events around town like the annual Zilker Park Kite Festival and the Pecan Street Festival. But we need a presence at many more places to inform the general public about our project. We need volunteers to help out on these events. Sign up to volunteer here!
Spread the Word
Building awareness is key when achieving a goal of this magnitude. Help show your support for the project by ordering a bumper sticker, or adding The Austin Planetarium to your Twitter or Facebook contacts and then “re-tweeting” our announcements to your friends and families world wide!
Torvald Hessel, Executive Director