The George F. Beattie Planetarium has provided star-gazing opportunities for astronomy buffs and the general public for over 35 years.

Named for George F. Beattie, a long time SBVC math and astronomy professor, the Planetarium opened in Fall 1977. In addition to being used as a teaching facility, public shows are generally held twice a month on Friday evenings. The Planetarium also provides programs during the day for local school groups by appointment.

Planetarium Specialist Chris Clarke has been involved with the facility since early 1978 when he was a student in the program.  He became an astronomy teaching assistant in 1979. In early 1980 he began producing and presenting shows to both students and the public.

His interest in astronomy started as a young boy in Rialto. Clarke pursued that interest by earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from the University of California, Riverside, and a star projector inside planetariumMaster’s Degree in Graphic Design from California State University, Fullerton. 

Clarke was a graphic artist at General Dynamics in Rancho Cucamonga for six years while still producing shows at SBVC. In 1992, SBVC hired him as the full-time Planetarium Production and Presentation Specialist.

“When you’re producing shows, you need that artistic ability,” said Clarke.

The 57-seat Planetarium, located next to the Greek Theatre (see map here), features a star projector which cost $100,000 in 1977, Clarke said. If it were to be replaced today, the electro-optical mechanical projector would cost approximately $400,000. 

The projector can provide views from the North Pole to the South Pole, showing all the stars that can be seen with the un-aided eye on the darkest and clearest nights.

Attendance at the shows has increased and Clarke said it is an economical outing for a family.

One of the most popular shows is “The Christmas Star,’’ which is presented three times in December.

When To Go

All shows are 7 p.m. Fridays. See Calendar of Events below.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and there is no late seating. The one-hour shows are presented September through May, generally twice a month. 

Fall 2019
Public Show Schedule

Following most shows, the Observatory will be open to view a variety
of celestial objects, weather permitting*


September 6

More than Meets the Eye & Learn the Fall Sky                                                         

*With viewing of the first-quarter moon

September 27

Images of the Infinite: The Hubble Space Telescope

*With viewing of Saturn

October 4

Images of the Infinite: The Hubble Space Telescope

*With viewing of the first-quarter moon

October 18

The Little Star That Could

*With viewing of Saturn

November 8

Meet the Moon

*With viewing of the gibbous moon

December 6, 13, 20

The Christmas Star

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. - there is no late seating.

Tickets at the door are $3 adults, $2 students, seniors and alumni, $1 children 10 and under. Reservations are available but tickets must be picked up at the door.

The Planetarium is at 701 S. Mt. Vernon Ave., San Bernardino. Call (909) 384-8539.