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Space Science Center’s Star Theater hosts 100,000th visitor

The MSU Space Science Center’s Star Theater has educated and entertained audiences young and old since its opening in June of 2009. The Star Theater hosted its 100,000th visitor Friday, April 28, with a first-grade class from Nicholas County Elementary.

The Star Theater averages an annual attendance of approximately 12,700 visitors per year. Visitors to the Star Theater include MSU classes, public and private K-12 school groups, civic organizations and members of the general public.

The 116-seat digital theater serves as a classroom and planetarium for the region's educators, students and the general public. The Star Theater projects full 180º x 360º real-time blended video and graphics onto a 40-foot dome screen using six digital projectors and state-of-the-art surround sound.

In digital theater mode, the use of the all-dome video allows a broad range of programming including simulated travel through deep space and through the deepest depths of the ocean allowing free movement through a 3-D universe viewing endless astronomical phenomena, such as comets, planets, and supernova with full motion and 3-D texturing.

May 26 through Aug. 4 the Star Theater will present public shows every Friday throughout the summer. A planetarium show and night sky tour will start at 2 p.m. followed by a laser show at 3 p.m.

The cost of planetarium programs is $3 per person per show, with children under the age of four able to attend free. Alternatively, the theater offers programs for the public on the Friday and Saturday of third weekend of each month, September through May, including special seasonal programs in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday. In addition, the theater offers special group shows for school groups, youth groups, summer camps, and civic organizations at a low cost.

“This is a major accomplishment, as the initial expectations for the theater would only have seen around 6,000 visitors per year,” said Eric Thomas, Star Theater director. “The Star Theater allows visitors to travel from the deepest depths of the ocean to the farthest reaches of the known universe, and presents programs that are culturally diverse and informative across a wide variety of topics. This attendance count is a major milestone for our local planetarium and we hope it helps spark interest and fosters curiosity about earth and space science in our community and throughout Kentucky.”

For more information about the Star Theater and its public programs, visit If you are interested in one of the public show programs or want to schedule a private program, contact Thomas at 606-783-9593 or email

Pictured above: from left, Dr. Eric Jerde, Earth and Space Science interim chair, Nicholas County Elementary first-grade teachers Amanda Koeder, Jenna Smoot, Kylie Walton, Lori Kenney, and Eric Thomas, Star Theater director