The planetarium at Palomar College is a beautiful new facility built to serve Palomar College and the Community of San Diego. However it is a very expensive place to operate. Funds from Proposition M were used to build this state-of-the-art venue, but operational costs are paid for from our weekly revenue and from donations. We take great pride in offering quality educational and entertaining presentations to all visitors to the planetarium while keeping our ticket prices low and affordable - offering many discounts to kids, seniors, military, and students. With the exception of the salary of the Planetarium Director and Assistant Planetarium Director, there is NO additional regular funding provided by the College. All staff members who help us run the planetarium on public nights are paid for through revenue generated from ticket sales. As you may know the College is facing one of the most difficult financial times of its 70 year history and additional funding for the planetarium is not possible. The Planetarium must be self-supporting and so relies on revenue from ticket sales and, more importantly, we rely on the generous donations made by the community.
Some of the ways your donation helps support the Planetarium:
The planetarium support staff is composed of student workers from Palomar College and other local colleges. These workers learn valuable skills related to running a public outreach venue, operating telescopes, and using the Digistar 5 presentation technology. Your donation helps us pay the hourly wages of these student workers and provides an income while they are attending college courses.
Student workers Ann and Steve learn how to use the telescopes for the planetarium.
Public outreach is one of the main missions of the planetarium. Most of the public outreach events that we offer are free to the public but have certain inherent costs involved that become difficult when we offer an event to the public at no cost but still pay our student workers and pay for refreshments and other costs involved. Your donation helps us offset these costs and allows us to offer more events for you to participate in! Here are a few ways your donation helps our public outreach mission:
- Providing opportunities for the public to participate in timely astronomical events
The planetarium opens it doors to the public when there are astronomical events
that can be observed by the public. We set up telescopes and provide programming
in the planetarium theater to help the public learn more about the event.
- Guest Speaker Program
Your donation pays for logistical support of inviting guest speakers and paying
for the related costs such as honoraria, lodging, etc.
- Purchasing telescope equipment that is used on our Public Nights and other public events
Each Friday we set up our telescopes to allow the public to view the various celestial objects that are visible for that night. We are in need of additional equipment to go with the telescopes (such as eyepieces, filters, finders, charts, etc.) Your donation
helps us pay for this equipment.
600+ people from the community attended our Transit of Venus event in 2012!
Each week we offer a full dome feature that is a visually immersive way to take the audience on an astronomically related journey. These shows are critically acclaimed and professionally produced by Hollywood caliber production studios. However these features are expensive - often costing $12,000 or more to license to the planetarium so that we can offer them to you. Your donation helps us come up with the funds to acquire more shows and offer a richer variety of features to the public.
How To Make A Donation
Donations are tax-deductible and can be made to the planetarium in any amount. Here are a few ways to make a donation:
- Join the Friends of the Planetarium
This will allow your donation to work for the Planetarium AND you will be able to enjoy the many benefits of being a member. Click here to learn more about the Friends of the Planetarium. If you wish to join the Friends of the Planetarium, please click here to become a member.
- Mail us a check
Make the check payable to "Palomar College Foundation" and put in the memo "Planetarium". Mail it to: Palomar College Planetarium, 1140 West Mission Road, San Marcos CA 92069. Once the check is received we will send you a thank you letter with information for your taxes.
- Online Donations
Click here to make an online donation..
- Donation Made When Purchasing Tickets
During the online ticket purchase procedure there is an option to make a donation to the planetarium in any amount.
- In Person
We have a donation box in the lobby of our planetarium. We welcome any donations in any amount!