The Donald A Schaefer Planetarium will be showing its annual Christmas Star program beginning December 12th. The show will run every night through December 18th at 7:00 PM. The Christmas Star is a tradition at BHS dating back to 1974. The show is free of charge but seating is very limited this year. Please call the BHS Activities Office at (563) 332-4516 to reserve your seats.
Although many planetariums have a version of a Christmas Star, we are especially proud of our program. The script was derived from scientific and theological research and adapted to fit our audience. The program was wonderfully narrated by Frank Gorshe, a Bettendorf chemistry teacher and friend of the planetarium. We were fortunate enough to be allowed the use of Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas in the Aire, and Fresh Aire Christmas for the background music.
The planetarium has undergone some major upgrades in recent years. In 2017, our original starball was removed and replaced with two fisheye projectors. These, coupled with an advanced computer software package and 5.1 surround sound, allow for a unique 360-degree experience found nowhere else in the area.
This one-of-a-kind show was programmed to highlight the capabilities of the new immersive system. Included are the use of 3D videos and images produced and developed by our own planetarium staff.
The Donald A. Schaefer Planetarium serves upwards of 7,000 visitors a year. Much of its use has been with our high school students through Science, Social Studies, and English classes. Every elementary student in the Bettendorf Community School District visits the planetarium once a year for a show that extends what they are learning in their science lessons.