Bassett Planetarium

Scheduling Visits, Programs, Admission and Access/Directions

Scheduling Visits

The Bassett Planetarium does not have public hours and therefore is not available on a drop in basis.  Bassett Planetarium programs are available to educational groups of 10 or more but must be scheduled in advance.  Schedule a Group visit click here.

Programs

Bassett Planetarium programs are suitable for pre-K through adults.

We cover:

  • Basic orbital mechanics of the planets using an orrery.
  • The apparent motions of the planets, sun and moon in our sky.
  • Explanations of meridian, zenith, ecliptic and celestial coordinates.
  • Solstices and equinoxes for older groups.
  • Identification of the common constellations, asterisms, and their lore and mythology.

We end with some time to answer questions about astronomy, space travel, and life on other planets.

Admission

Admission to the planetarium is always free of charge.

Bassett Planetarium programs are available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. With 2-3 weeks advanced notice group visits may be scheduled outside of the standard hours.

To Schedule a Group Visit click here

Please note that the building is NOT handicap accessible, with limited restrooms for groups. 

Access/Directions

GPS-friendly address: 165 South Pleasant St., Amherst, MA, 01002

Bassett Planetarium is located on the Amherst College campus, on the second floor of Morgan Hall, which is on the west side of Rte 116, just south of the intersection with Rte 9.  It is across from the College's main entrance and near to the PVTA (Public Transportation) bus stop.

Parking & Passenger Drop off

On weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., campus parking is restricted to permit holders. During these hours, visitors are asked to park in the Town of Amherst’s metered parking spaces (see Amherst town parking map).  There is no public parking adjacent to Morgan Hall.

Parking spaces designated for people with disabilities are available to visitors at all times. One is located between Morgan and College Halls and others are located across the green on Quadrangle Drive, Boltwood Ave., and in the parking lot adjacent to Converse Hall. Visitors with limited mobility may be dropped off at the College’s main entrance, across South Pleasant St., on Quadrangle Drive.

Buses

School buses should enter the College campus on Quadrangle Drive off South Pleasant St. and take the first left at Converse Hall. Students can get off there and take the walkway across the green and the crosswalk to Morgan Hall and the Bassett Planetarium.

Bus parking for group visits is in the College’s Hills Lot. We ask that groups be dropped in front of Converse Hall near the PVTA bus stop and then park in the Hills Lot. The lot is large and buses can turn around and exit easily. Park in the marked spaces by the facilities building at the far side of Hills Lot.

Here is a simple MAP.

Visitor Policies

  • Visitors must be part of a Community Educational or Campus Group of 10 or more people. (We have no drop in hours.)
  • Note that the Morgan Hall contains three separate departments: Bassett Planetarium, and the American Studies and Anthropology Departments. The Planetarium is located on the second floor. Hallways and stairways must be kept quiet because of the classrooms they serve. Children must be carefully supervised at all times.

For all questions please contact Alfred Venne Planetarium Director.

For more information on visiting Amherst, see:

  

SPACE EDUCATION LINKS:

Educational Resources from NASA:

Educators are just one click away from accessing information on NASA topics and programs. An alphabetical list of topical resources (from mission information, multimedia, NASA history, aeronautics, space science, Earth science, and space operations, to the Vision for Space Exploration and much more) is available at:

Nasa’s general For Educators portal with NASA educational resources, programs and projects is at:

Additional sources:

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln maintains a useful list of astronomy simulations and animations at: