Planetarium show fund-raising premiere set for Oct. 4

Roll out the red carpet as Youngstown State University’s Ward Beecher Planetarium hosts the world premiere of the new full-dome movie “Cosmic Castaways,” an original production of the Ward Beecher Planetarium with funding from the National Science Foundation.

The fund-raising premiere event is Thursday, Oct. 4, with a reception on the fifth floor of YSU’s Maag Library starting at 7 p.m. followed by the screening of the movie in the planetarium at 8:30 p.m. Admission to the premiere screening is $75 per person with proceeds going to the Ward Beecher Planetarium and Cosmoquest. Make reservations at

“The idea behind the fundraiser is pretty simple: we think ‘Cosmic Castaways’ is a great production, and we would like to do more shows in the future and release them to the public,” said John Feldmeier, YSU associate professor of astronomy.

“Cosmic Castaways” makes its public debut at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5 in the planetarium, followed by another screening at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. For other future screenings, visit

The 20-minute movie is about intracluster stars – the stars that are removed from galaxies because of galaxy collisions – and is based partially on research by Feldmeier and Pat Durrell, YSU associate professor of astronomy and planetarium director. The movie was funded as part of Feldmeier’s NSF research grant.

Pamela Gay, an assistant research professor of Graduate Studies and Research at Southern Illinois University and executive director of the Astrophere New Media Association, narrates the movie. Her research focuses on how to most effectively engage the public in learning and doing astronomy online. Read more about Gay at

The show will be released for free on the Internet for other planetariums to use and for people to view. The show will appear on a new website, Science on the Half Sphere, at