Planetariums in New Jersey
One of the biggest downsides to living in a city is how difficult it can be to enjoy the night sky. Not everyone has the time or ability to drive hours out to the country to escape the city light. Fortunately, at Applewood residents are lucky enough to have close proximity and easy access to some of the nation’s best planetariums. Whether you’re interested in just seeing the stars, learning more about astronomy, or even just interested in checking out a laser show, the planetariums in New Jersey have a tremendous amount to offer. So what are you waiting for? Lean back, relax, and explore the galaxy around you!
Robert J. Novins Planetarium
Ocean County College, 1 College Dr, Toms River, NJ
Found at the Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey the Robert J. Novins planetarium is one of the largest and most active planetariums in all of New Jersey. It was recently, in 2010, reopened and features some of the most cutting-edge technology found in any planetarium in the state. The dome of the Robert J. Novins Planetarium is a virtual 3-D video space, allowing terrestrials to experience the night sky without leaving the city. Using a new fiber-optic projector, visitors can experience a crisp, beautiful, view of the night sky. The Robert J. Novins planetarium offers visitors a choice of 14 different programs to view, each roughly an hour long. Five of these shows are specifically designed to be enjoyed by children, making the Robert J. Novins Planetarium a pretty great place for a birthday party, or even just for a night out. The remaining nine programs are more suitable for adults or a more general audience. The planetarium also offers a large variety of laser shows, ranging from Laser U2 and Laser Beatles to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.
49 Washington St, Newark, NJ 07102
The Alice and Leonard Dreyfuss Planetarium in Newark, New Jersey, was first built in 1953. At the time it was the first of its kind in New Jersey. Over the years this 50-seat planetarium has been visited by well over a million people and has become one of the most popular science education destination for schools and families in the state. The Dreyfuss Planetarium received a significant upgrade in 2010, going from it’s Zeiss ZKP3 star projector to a Full Dome Video experience. This planetarium now features a state of the art digital projection system, allowing for the correct positions of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets, allowing visitors to become fully immersed in the scientifically accurate visualizations of our universe. As part of the Newark Museum, the Dreyfuss Planetarium is a not-for-profit museum that strives to provide educational, and enjoyable, resources to all visitors. As such, tickets for the planetarium’s programs are inexpensive, ranging from $3 to $6, though tickets are separate from general museum admission. Just remember; there are only 50 seats in the theater, and tickets are sold on a first-come-first-served basis and there are no online ticket sales.
201 Mullica Hill Rd, Glassboro, NJ
The Fredric and Jean Edelman Planetarium, located in the Science Hall of Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, offers families, schools, and the general public a variety of instructional and information programs that help to educate the community in Glassboro on the universe we all live in. This public resource for astronomical information provides multiple opportunities to help expand visitors understanding of the universe. This planetarium offers a variety of family shows, school programs, and of course — laser light shows. This 102 seat theater offers a full-dome video experience as well as a 16-inch telescope in the rooftop observatory, multiple research labs and even teaching laboratories. The Edelman Planetarium also offers public shows on the weekends throughout the regular school year when Rowan University is open. Shows at the Edelman Planetarium are well worth the experience. The full dome theater offers visitors a stunning 360-degree field of view, along with full reclining chairs that allow for a perfect view of the screen. Programs are typically 30-45 minutes with a short presentation before each viewing with a Q&A section.
New Jersey State Museum Planetarium
205 W. State St, Trenton, NJ
The New Jersey State Museum is situated in Trenton, New Jersey, just overlooking the Delaware River. It is operated as part of the New Jersey Department of State and is host to a number of collections of artifacts and objects that date back to the early 19th century, but the real gem of the museum is the 140-seat planetarium. Opened in 1964, the State Museum Planetarium is instrumental in assisting the grand goal of focusing on education for all. The planetarium offers a variety of educational programs, as well as a variety of traditional sky shows and even laser shows. The planetarium features Full Dome video technology, as well as a digital video hemisphere as part of the exhibits. As the admission to the museum itself is ‘suggested’, the planetarium is a very affordable experience. For adults, tickets are $7, while children 12 and under may purchase tickets for $5. The New Jersey State Museum Planetarium offers public shows during the weekends, but during the school year, weekday programs are offered to schools and community groups by reservation only.
200 Central Park West, New York, NY
The Hayden Planetarium found in the Rose Center for Earth and Space in the American Museum of Natural History isn’t actually in New Jersey. You’ll have to make your way into New York, near Central Park West in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though it’s an hour and a half (on a good day!) away, the Hayden Planetarium is well worth the trip. The Hayden Planetarium has been one of the mainstay attractions at the Rose Center since being established in 1933. The planetarium is in the shapeof a sphere and is split into two different halves. The top half, known as the Star Theater, is a state-of-the-art theater designed to provide high-resolution, full-dome video, based on scientific visualizations of current astrophysical data. These ‘space shows’ are possible with the assistance of a customized projector system that accurately represents the night sky as seen on Earth. The second half of the Hayden Sphere is the Big Bang Theater. Housed in the bottom of the sphere, this theater demonstrates ‘the birth of the universe’ in a four-minute program, with narration from Taken action star, Liam Neeson, projected onto a screen that measured 36 feet. Once the program is complete may take the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, which is a spiral that connects the first and second floors of the Rose Center. The Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway is one of the more popular exhibits in the Rose Center, as it provides a timeline of the history of the universe from the Big Bang to present day. In addition to a truly phenomenal and engaging experience, the Hayden Planetarium is directed by the one and only Neil deGrasse Tyson — famous for his successor to the Carl Sagan’s 1980’s series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
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