Space Odyssey

You don’t need a wormhole to visit the cosmos, just a seat in Sacramento State’s space-age planetarium
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Photo by Jessica Vernone; digital edit by Sam Macapagal

EEver wanted to sit in the captain’s chair of the Starship Enterprise exploring strange new worlds? Lucky for you, the city’s coolest new lecture hall has 90 plush recliners ready to help you get your James T. Kirk on. The $91 million Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex at Sacramento State opened in September, and while its planetarium is mainly for students, the doors open to the public a few times every month. For Halloween, for example, a Harry Potter-themed show revealed the “astronomical objects that inspired J.K. Rowling,” courtesy of two ultra-high-definition projectors splashing 20 million pixels across a 40-foot-wide hemispherical screen. “Imax has nothing on us,” says planetarium director Kyle Watters. On Dec. 3, the $5 tickets go on sale for the Dec. 13-15 and 18-22 showings of the “Mystery of the Christmas Star.” But fair warning: The October shows sold out in seven minutes, so you’ll need to engage some serious warp speed to make this star date.

Tickets for the December shows go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 3, at noon. Tickets are available in person at the Hornet ticket office at 6000 J St., by phone at 916-278-4323, or online at