George F. Beattie Planetarium

San Bernardino Valley College, 701 South Mount Vernon Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92410


About Us:

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, then becoming a teaching assistant in 1979. In early 1980 he began producing and presenting shows to students and the public as well.

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 Master’s Degree in Graphic Design from California State University, Fullerton.

Clarke was a graphic artist at General Dynamics in Rancho Cucamonga for six years before being laid off. He was still producing shows at SBVC when SBVC hired him as the Production and Planetarium Specialist in 1992.

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

The 57-seat Planetarium, located behind the Greek Theatre, 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.

“Each port hole is a lens that is projecting part of the sky,” Clarke said.

The projector can provide views from the North Pole to the Equator.

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.

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