Hatter Planetarium in 1966

The planetarium shortly after installation in 1966.

The planetarium is located in Masters Hall on the Gettysburg College campus. It was added to Masters Hall in 1966 as the result of a generous gift of Mr. And Mrs. George G. Hatter. Mr. Hatter, class of 1911, was a student of beloved mathematics professor Henry “Poppy” Nixon (served 1888-1914), and later a member of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The original planetarium dome remains, still in fine condition. In 2016 the room was renovated and the planetarium upgraded to a full-dome digital projector. The seats are now moveable, but when configured as a classroom, the Hatter Planetarium seats 40 people.

The heart of the facility is a new Spitz SciDome projector. As fond as we were of the old mechanical projector, this change is similar to going from an etch-a-sketch to an iPad. The system, as Spitz describes it, is “powered by Starry Night and The Layered Earth, SciDome brings realtime space and earth science into the dome’s unique teaching environment.” The planetarium also includes a five-speaker sound system and projectors for non-planetarium use.

The Physics Department does have the removed 1966 optical-mechanical projector, and has plans to display it in the future.